Alice R. Hilgard
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4 DIDACTIC AND DESCRIPTIVE POEM.
Dedicated (hy permission) to her Royal Highness the 16 ^'
Princess of Wales. /'. l fyij-J
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
PRINCESS OF WALES.
X HIS Volume, honoured
by the condescending patronage of Your
Royal Highness, contains the humble
and unaspiring mental effusions of one,
who sought in the contemplation of Na-
ture, and in the expression of the Muse,
some partial relief from the rigours of
adversity. Happy that the wanderings
of my feet were directed to paths, to
which Beauty and transcendent Virtue *
Beneficence and exalted Rank have for
ages resorted; and where, united in your
Royal Person, they have selected their
I'csidence : — Happy that those scenes,
which Nature appears to have endea-
voured to render worthy of your Royal
Presence, were the sources of ideas
which, amid the miseries of want, have
often won my soul from despondency ; —
Happy, unexpectedly happy, that the
feeble breathings of my unelevated lays,
have found favour from your Royal
Attention, I meet the public eye with
confidence, and look forward to future
and higher labours with the energy of
To fraternal assistance my Volume
is much indebted: permit me therefore,
Madam, to blend the devoted and hum-
ble respect of my brothers with my own.
That health and every species of
happiness may, through a long and un-
wearied life, attend vour Royal High-
NESS, is the earnest prayer of him, who,
with the most dutiful respect, and pro-
found attachment, has the honour to
Your Royal Highness's
Most humble, obedient,
and devoted Servant,
Henry ABBOTT, Esq. Blackhcath
Mrs. Abraham, Percy-Street.
Daniel Alexander, Esq. BlackheatJi.
John Julius Angerstein, Esq. Woodlands, Blacklieath.
Jaraes Annen, Esq. Eliot-Placc, Blackhcath.
Miss Annen, Eliot-Place, Blackhcath.
Mrs. Ashmeade, Paragon, Blackhcath.
Mr. Ashmeade, Paragon, Blackhcath.
Miss Atkins, Bryan-Ilouse, Blackhcath.
Sir Francis Baring, Bart. Lee.
Sir Thomas Blomeficld, Bart. Shooters-Hill.
Miss Baldry, Shad v, ell.
Mrs. Barrett Stockwell.
Daniel Bennet, Esq. Vanbrugh Fields.
Capt. Bond, Blackhcath.
Thomas Boone, Esq, Lee.
Mr, Alderman Boydel, Hamp.stead.
Samuel Brandram, Esq. Lee.
John Brent, Esq. Eliot-Place, Blackliealh
Capt. Bright. Greenwich.
H. H. Browne, Esq. Blackheath.
Mrs. Bryan, Bryan-House, Blackheath. 2 Copies.
Miss Bunce, Gower-Street. 2 Copies
Colonel Campbell, Blackheath.
John Christie, Esq. Juu. Blackheath.
Mr. Thomas Courthope, Rotherhithe.
Jesse Curling, Esq. Bermondsey.
Mr. Creasy, Deptford.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Dartmouth.
The Right Hon. the Dowager Lady Dacre. 2 Copies.
The Right Hon. Lady Dacre.
The Right Hon. D. B, Daly, M. P. Bett's Hotel.
Lady Douglas, Greenwich Park.
Lieut. Gen. Davies, Grove, Blackheath.
Mr. Dawes, Rotherhithe.
Dr. Dennison, Broad -St reef, Bishopsgate.
William Dixon, Esq. Black heath.
Ke!inett Dixon, Esq. Throgmorton-Sfroef.
John Djer, Esq. Park Cottage, Blackhcath.
James Fairlic, Esq. Eliot Vale, Blaekheath,
Mrs. Faith, Wapping Wall.
Miss Farrington, Blackheath.
Mrs. Fay, Ashburnham House, Blacklieath.
Feme, Esq. Rojal Hill, Blackheatfu
Daniel Flowerdew, Esq. Sir G. Page's Park.
Daniel Freeman, Esq. Chislehurst. 2 Copies.
George Gardner, Esq. Lincoln's Inn.
Mr. Goodson, Union-Place, Greenwich.
Miss Ann (Jrecn, Blackhcath.
J. Gregson, Esq. Throgmorton-Street.
Mrs. Groombrige, Eliot-Place. Blackheath.
Robert Hains, Esq. Cromb's Hill, Blackheath.
Thomas Hal!, Esq. Kennington.
Mrs. Hanvvay, Bow House, Blackheath.
John Hays, Esq. Horslydown.
Thomas Hays, Esq. Bermondsey.
Mrs. Horst, Dartmouth Row, Blackheath.
John Thomas James, Esq. Russel-Square.
George Joad, Esq. Dartmouth Row, Blackheath,
J. L. Kensington, Esq. Grove, Blackheath.
The Hon. and Rev. Dr. Leggc, Dean of Windsor
The Hon. Henry Lcgge, Lincoln's Inn.
Rev. Mr. Lane, Prebendary of Hereford.
Capt. Thomas Larkins, Blackheath.
Peter Lawrio, Esq. Blackheath.
Dr. Wm. Lewis, Walbrook.
Thomas Lewis, Esq. Queen-Street, Chcapside.
Rev. Mr. Locke, Lee.
Charles Locke, Esq. America-Square. 2 Copies.
Mr. Munn, Dartmouth Row, Blackheatli.
Her Grace the Dutchess of Northumherland.
George Wyndham Norris, Esq. Surry-Street, Strand.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Oxford.
The Right Hou. the Countess of O.vford.
Hon. William Wellesle}^ Pole, Blackheath.
John Joseph Peele, Esq. Clapham.
Benjaman Philips, Esq. Blackheath.
James Powell, Esq. Lincoln's Lm.
Mr. Preston, Blackheath.
F. D. Price, Esq. Grove, Blackheath.
Mrs. Richardson, Cornhill.
Mrs. W. Rowe^ Grove, Blackhcath. 3 Copies,
His Excellency Sidky Ei'endi^ ./Embassador from the
Robert Scott, Esq. Great Coram-Street. 2 Copiesi.
Capt. Sever/ Rotherhithc.
Mr. W. Shepherd, Low Lay ton, Essex.
Mr. G. Shepherd, America-Square.
I. L. Shireff, Esq. Eliot-Place, Blackheath.
J. Sicard, Esq. Eliot-Place, Blackheath.
Robert Smirke, Esq. Albany, Piccadilly.
George Stone, Esq. Hill-Street, Berkeley-Square,
Mr. Stone, Hall-Place, Bexley.
R. Taylor, Esq. Eliot Vale, Blackheath.
Miss Todd, at Mis. Horst's, Blackhcath.
William Tuppen, Esq. Eliot Vale, Blackhcath.
Samuel Wadeson, Esq. Parasfon, Blackheath.
Mrs. Webber^ Vanbrugh Fields.
Thomas Whitcombe, Esq. Blackheath.
Rev. Mr. White, All-hallows, Barking.
J. B. Wienholt, Esq. Kcnnet's Wharf.
John Williams, Esq. Eliot-Place, Blackheath.
Wood, Esq. of the Hon. E. I. C. Surry-Street,
William Woolcombe, Esq. Sen. Blackheath.
William 1"^ oolcombe, Esq. Jun. Rotherhitlie,
Peter Young, Esq. Eliot-Place, Blackheath,
IJ¥ THE SPRIJVG OF
A DIDACTIC AND DESCRIPTIVE POEM. IX FIVE CANTOS.
u/ien erery MusE
And every biooming pleasure u-aif loithouf
To bless the wUdly-deiious MoR.M.VG Waik.
W iTH what should an original poem be prefaced? —
with apologies and solicitations of favour ? Surely not.—
If it has need of apoligies, suppress it : — if it is without
merit, solicitations are vain. " But " cries my friend
" the subject of your poem is entirely local, and thcre-
" fore cannot interest the public in general ; and the
" manner in which you have conducted it is desultory
" and unconnected. Throw together a few explanatory
" hints with a sprinkling of satire, or scandal, into the
" form of a slight, careless, preface, if you really expect
" to extend the circle of your readers beyond the pale of
" Greenwich Park, or the sand-pits of Blackheath."---
You mistake me, my good Sir, my subject is not local ;
it is as pervasive as Nature. Blackheath is the name of
my poem, because Blackheath is the name of the place,
where I have most frequently observed the beauties of the
creation, and the productions of social ingenuity. BlacR-
HEATH and its environs are better situated for a wide
range" of contemplation than any spot, with which I am
acquainted. Where will you find prospects more exten-
sive that at the same time abound, like these, with the
grandeur of luxurious cultivation ? can you elsewhere
behold the magnificence of a mighty city, so intimately
united with the rural cottages of surrounding peasantry ?
-—the awful waters of a great commercial river, and
the abundant labours of agriculture ? In what other
situation can your eye seize, in the same glance, the
retired residence of a lovely and benevolent princess,
and an august palace, devoted to the reception of those
veterans, who have bled for the country they protected ?
This elevated spot dedicated by a powerful nation to
seience and astronomical research, and yonder wide-
spreading buildings dedicated by individuals to the safety
and protection of commercial wealth ? Not only the
riches of cultivation in all its forms, in orchards, garden-
ground, meadows, and corn-land; but the riches of hu-
man society and of the whole earth, in manufactories,
majestic vessels, and the stores of universal traffic. — My
subject is, therefore, not merely local, but as the place,
from which it is named, presents the greatest number of
general objects, and possesses the greatest general interest.
Nor is the conduct of my poem more desultory than what
may be expected from the [title of it. The plan and
leading passages of it were originally nothing more than
what the title expresses; the accidental thoughts of
" A Morning Walk in the Spring of ISOi."— A period
of my life particularly marked with that oppression,
and those necessities, which have given perhaps too
strong a feature to the whole composition. These
leading passages were written in the indulgence of real
feelings, and without any intention to exhibit them to
the notice of the public. If they possess any poetical
merit it is because they are the expression of sensations,
not the researches of thought. It was this species of me-
rit that induced my friends to persuade me to fill up my
outline, and commit it to the press. Aided by the talents
of my brothers Samuel and William I ventured to pre-
pare a volume for publication, which might possess the
beauties of superior embellishment, and by the attractions
of their pencil, and graver, draw some attention to the
productions of my pen. — To dwell upon the vexations
to which an expensive work, undertaken bj a man in
necessity, without any considerable connexions, has been
liable, would be tedious and unsatisfactory. It is enough
to say, that repeated, and cruel, obstacles, and disappoint-
n>ents have retarded its appearance. Now, under the
most benevolent and august patronage, it is presented to
the public. I offer my sincere thanks to my subscribers
for their encouragement : and, since neither my brothers
or myself have neglected any thing that might render the
work elegant and complete, we come forwards, with
diffidence indeed, but not without hope.
The appearance of a morning in spring just be/ore sun-rise.
The commencement of the walk. The rexloralion of .\atiirc congenial
to mental hope. Nature affords pleasures to the most humble beings.
The sun rises. The pleasure of contemplating ruins. The ruins
of Sir Gregory Page's seat. The sun becomes more derated.
3Ian alone complains and seems insensible of beauty of the morning.
The happiness of the feathered race compared uith that of man.
Connubial bliss. The grounds about the residence of the Dowager
Ladi/ Dacre described. The tomb of Lord Dacre.
Invocation to Checrfulntss. The pits near J.cicisham Hill,
Blackhcalh. Ah old xcoman gathering icater-cresses. The maternal
instinct of the ewes. How diJJcTcntfrom human affection instanced
in the feeble and aged gatherer of water-cresses. Sympathi/.
Cheerfulness recalled. The prospect from the point at I.ewisham
Hill towards Lee. The summer house of the Princess of Wales.
The school-boys proclaiming their holiday. The folly of attributing
our greatest happiness to our iifaucy. The prospect from the point
at Leicisham Hill towards Lewisham, Sydenham, ^-c. I'hc wish.
InvocntioH to the Muse. A general view of the heath and pub-
lic road. Flamsteed house. Astronomy. The view from Flam-
steed Hill. Greenwich Park. The Thames. AJicet of merchant
ships. The salute of the coiiroi/. The IVesi India Docks. The
cultivation of sugar and of honey compared. Commerce. The true
employment of Commerce. Cotton, and the British manufactories
for that article. Wool. The annual meetings of the nobility and
gentry who encourage the produce of Wool. Britain favoured by
Commerce on account of her mamtfaclories. The prospect from
Flamsteed Hill continued. The eastern valley of Greenwich park.
One Tree Hill. Vanbrugh House, the residence of Mr. Holford.
A Greenwich pensioner, on One Tree Hill, observing the vessel, in
which he fought, worn out leilh age and service, coming vp the river
to he broke up at Deptford. Greenwich Hospital. The view from
One Tree Hill, The distant appearance of London with other ob-
jects. Address tv Albion,
Invocation to Independent Mind, Rural Labour the favourite
theme of Independence. The improvements of Agriculture around
the Woodlands. The prospect of the Woodlands, the seat of J. J,
Angerstein Esq. The description (fa generous and philanthropic
Merchant. Agriculture the soitrce of public good, and the safety of
British Freedom from the influence of corrupt Power. Episode;
The ruined husbandman. Address to the members of the British
parliament to protect husbandmen f)-om oppression. Episode; l^a-
coti cultivating a track of waste land for his family.
The rapidity of the morning hours. The morning hours invoke
frf. Address to the deity. The tcallc continued near the Thames
by Grcemcich Marsh. The woody hills and chalk pits near Charl-
ton. Charlton Church. A group of gypsies retreating to a chalk
hole. Shooter's Hill. Lady James's tower. The suggested evening
prospect from Shooter's Hill. London, the Thames, Eltham, ifc.
The rising of the full ynoon. The suggested noon-day prospect
from Shooter's Hill. Hay-making, The return home.
BlACKHEATH, Canto III. rer. 349, — for liand read touch.
Argonautica. Iu the latin, after Tcr. 57, iutroiluce tUis Hue,
Talibus hortatur juvenem^ proplorque jubenti
and let the numbers 60, 65, and 70 be each placed one line backwardcr.
A MORNING WALK IN THE SPRING
How soft the saffron radiance of the morn!
The lucid glow of every golden cloud
How mild ! — How tenderly serene the beams,
That yet rise chastened by the twilight shade
And fill the orient, ere the orb of day
Burns on the horizon : — Let me walk abroad : — ■
The new-born foliage dropt with glistening dew.
While yet a scanty vestment for the boughs
Pleasing in palest verdure, and the bloom
Breathing it's gentle fragrance on the air 10
FrojTi every silver leaf, may, with the charm
Of soft congenial influence, waken Hope,
Blythe Hope, bright harbinger of Mental Spring !
Alas ! a deep and dreary winter rests
On my sad days :— a settled sombre cloud 15
Excludes all light and petrifies my powers
With Poverty's relentless frost ! — ^jet Hope
Attracted by the sister Hopes^ that spread
O'er every infant blossom and each blade^
That bursts above the glebe, their silky spells, 20
Arises, trembling, from the cruel grasp
Of pale Despondency and looks abroad :— «
Swift at her touch the enlivening spirits mounts
Waving their opening pinions : Fancy leads
The jocund troop and scatters roses round;
While Hope (all Sorrows silent near her) sings.
The lark that quivers far ahove the mist
Which (lulls the western skirt of yon grey cloud.
And this gay chirpcr from the hawlhorn buds
Shaking the sparkling dew drops are her choir. 30
She sings aloud, tliat^, Nature hath her joys
Even for me: — her constant, tranquil jovs —
That need no treasure, — need no other store
But Sensibility and Peaceful Thought !
" O God of Nature, who hast filled thy works, S3
" With Love and virtuous Pleasure, — grant me Peace I —
" Raise me from Want — and teach my soul Content
" And Contemplation,, — Science and Thyself!"
The Sun is risen : — the wide concave vault
Expands with day : — Life feels the flood of light 40
Pour thro' its every fibre and awakes I
The feathered music from each thorny shrub.
Each budding bush or intertangled glade
Darts upward full of song ; andj in the sky
Meets and salutes the vivifying beams. 45
The orient teems with glories ; — every cloud.
And every vapour that obeys the heat
And mantles trembling on the waves of air,
Displays rich sapphire folds, — while fiery gold
Burns on the borders— or, with rubied light, 50
Beneath an ever varying purple gleam.
Whose highest ridge the sober indigo
Deepening, invests, permits the attentive eye
Undazzled for awhile a steadfast gaze.
With what effulgency, — what pomp of light 55,
The roseate radiance streams along the sky !
Here, where the silvery mist, transparent, robe&
The brighter azure, lost in violet tints^
BLACK HEATH. 13
Tender and tremulous i< dies away ;—
There, with resplendent amber blended,, flames CO
So full a lustre, that the daring sight
Sinks from the venturous glanee and seeks repose
Upon the humble verdure of the plain.
Yet, still the w ide and languid shadows spread
In undetermined forms : — fiir to the west 65
The robe of Night rolls on in ample folds
Slow gathered off the Earth : — from yon high elms
Gigantic shadows wave in shapeless gloom.
While, long secure, behind these ruined piles.
Rests tardy Darkness, uncontracted, stretched "(0
Along yon lioUow vale in deep repose.
I love to tread where Time has strewn the path
With trophies of his power ; there to gaze
XJpon the Historic Muse, who sits sublimQ
Above his crumbling conquests and exults 75
That led by her^ the Soul of Man has saved
Whole ages from the tyrant ; and has left
Nought hut the mouldering stone within his grasp.
But what are these dire ruins ? Here no Muse
Poinis to Historic forms, that glide among 80
Time's ivy'd arches : — Ivy spreads not here
It's sacred mantle '.—Here, no hallowed moss
Is marked with footsteps of returnuig ghosts.
Who haunt for centuries their loved abodes ;
Seen by the eye of Fancy, when the Muse 85
Of awful record deigns with her to rove
Tliro' monumented aisles and nodding towers.
No :— 'mid these walls, where lifts the solid stone
Young from its quarry bed, it's strong, fair bulk —
'Mid these elliptic arches boldly curved 90
By scientific Elegance, — behold
BLACKHEATH. J 3
Pale Avarice stronger than resistless Time,
His victory vaunts — and claims this ruin his !
Hence let me turn — ungrateful Is tlKvscene: —
As when some noble youth, whose perfect form, 95
With strength and beauty and superior soul,
Rising to manhood, full of life and hope.
Deep smitten by the dart of sudden fate.
Falls, like the marble model of a god.
In force and vigour motionless ; — so fell 100
This fabric, ere destructive Time had rocked
It's firm foundations or defaced it's walls.
- — Hence let me turn and quit this mournful scene. —
Distinctly now the lessening shades assume'
The features of their objects : — for the Sun 10;>
Above the clouds, on which, at his approach.
The spirits of ascending light unfurled
His glorious ensigns and proclaimed the day.
Hath soared sublime and showered his radiant shafts*
Illuming the blue concave: — Life resounds 110
With lovie and pleasure — nought but man complains^
He, the least charge of Nature, slowly leaves
His restless slumbers ; — sad with anxious thought.
Beholds his wants, his care*, his toils renewed.
And, mournful 'mid the music of the grove, 115*
Plods pensive to his labour. — Higher swell
Your happy notes, sweet feathered minstrelsy : —
The Spring that round your haunts its fragrance breathe*
That curtains you with verdure — that enchants
Your little hearts, with light and heat and love ; 120
For you creates a heaven on this earth
Full of coimubial bliss and tender joy.
* Hyperion's march they spy nn^glitt'n'ng shafts of war. Gbat.
Ndr F'AST nor future shall disturb vour song: —
The PRESENT is >our own — it's ecstacies
To you eternal, since ye do not know 125
That winter must again deform your groves
With fitorms and darkness >—0, rejoice, while man
Bemoans his frail existence, — naked gift
Of niggard Nature ; — by disease assailed,*
And with the torturing miseries of thoughtj 130
Regret, anxiety and haggard fear
For ever torn. Her steadfast laws for you
Benign she framed — and bound your tender bliss
With sacred statutes : — she informed your hearts
* To Man, why, step-dame Nature, so severe ?
Why thrown aside th)' master-piece half wrought,
While meaner efforts thy last hand enjoy r
^Vhy curst with foresight ? v/ise to misery i
Why of his proud prerogative the prey ? YoVN'C.
With untaiiglit knowledge — with the simple truths 133
Of innate Instinct — and with-held the power
Of error and of evil — Reason's boast !
Attune your sweetest songs, ye choristers,
Woodlarks and linnets : — ye with darker wing
And softer melody, and ye who chirp 140
A gayer cadence 'mid your playful strains.
And to the morning beams, your golden plumes
Spread sportfully — frequent these beauteous bowers
With sweetest lays ; for here. Connubial Bliss,
That modulates your notes with tender joy, 145
Descending, deigned to dwell awhile with man.
A sacred pleasing impulse Seems to move
Thro' this delightful seat — where Taste has waved
His beautifying wand o'er Nature's works
And animated all the tranquil scene - 150
With intellectual features : hence this grove.
This flowery lawn — these intermingled shruhs,
Whose various verdure blends in tender tints
Or smiles in gentle contrast ; — hence yon elms, —
This stately beech, wide solitary lord 155
Of the dew spangled meadow — these light boughs,
Whose infant leaves upon the clouded bark.
At every Zephyr tremble — and the shade
Of yon high poplars thrown across the scene.
Combine a verdant aspect mildly gay, 160
Expressive of tranquillity and love.
Ye spirits of terrestrial bliss ! — ye guides
Of human Reason, who disdainful oft
Rejects the happiness ye would bestow
Religion ! — Charity ! — Connubial Love ! 165
Your saered footsteps sanctify this path —
Thisj your frequented path to Dacre's tomb !
O, wider 'mid the mournful race of man
Extend your power benignant ! with sueh mild.
Such peaceful tenderness^ — such awful hope— 1?0
Instruct the human heart to seek repose ; —
To gazo upon the hovering soul that waits
It's lingering partner — thuSj to hear the voice
That from the tomb delighted speaks of Love^
Of Love eternal ! — thus^ partake the flame 173i
Of Virtue, which for ever inextinct
Lives on the hallowed urn — the irradiate flame
Of Charity — of Hope — of Sa,cred Truth !
And is there Happiness on earth for man ?
Amid the many miseries of Life, 180
While sigh the mighty and repine the rich —
While sorrow sears each mortal with her mark ;--,
BLACK HEATH. 21
And claims us individually her own ;
Is there a way to escape her haggard eye.
All vigilant to find a source of woe ! 185
. — There is ! — So, Nature's constant theme proclaims :
I hear her holy voice : — aloud she sings : — '
Affection — Knowledge — Virtue — Honour— Peace
Catch the soft breathings of her vocal lips
And rise sublime o'er Dacre's sacred dust ! 190
Here will I sit beside this rustic fane,*
* Lee Ciiuncii is supposed to be one of the most ancient Churches
now remaining in England. It is said to have been built in the reign
of Edward 1, The small stream which runs in the valley near it,
over which an elegant iron bridge has been thrown by Mr. Brandon,
in the middle of his improved and beautiful meadows, is mentioned in
old records by the name of the Little Bourne; it joins the Ravensbouru
at Lewisham. The manor /ormed part of the possessions of Odo,
Bishop of Baieux, in the time of William the Conqueror. It was
afterwards the property of Richard Woodville, who married Elizabeth,
widow of Sir John Grey; the celebrated Lady who became the Queen
pf Edward J V,
Whose scathed walls indented deep by Time,
Receive the shadows of the aged elms
That bound it's ancient cemetery : — here pause
Amid the ashes of the countless dead
Whom centuries have laid beneath this mould :-
Here listen to the truths of Nature's song !
LLL t III liLli.
A MORNING WALK IN THE SPRING
V.OME, Cheerfulness, bljtlie daughter of the Spring
Be thou my Muse, — for thou canst chase away
Care and the spectred thoughts of anxious Toil,
That with their urgent and discordant cries
Would break abrupt my meditated song : —
Be thou my Muse ! — this hill my Helicon !*
• If I can be to thee
A Poet, tbou Parnassus art to me. Dexh^m.
g4 BLACK HEATH.
Its beauteous scenes, its lawns and flowery shrubs
Made vocal with the gladness of the morn^
Adorned with tender light and full of thee>
Shall be my themes : — Then hence desponding Grief—'
Hence rankling Memory, sad Regret and Fear — 10
Ve that have still my mournful days possessed.
Yield me this hour, — and let my soul receive
Fair Cheerfulness, my Muse that smiles around !
Lo, in the sun-beams, how the gentle uymph 15
Sportful expands her pinions, — how she drives
The flying shadow of tlie fleeting cloud
From off the dewy verdure, — how she spreads
The mellow light upon the golden heath,—- •
How o'er the shaded violet she bends, 20
Inhaling it's sweet breath ! — Who does not see.
Or think he sees, as yonder blossoms float
Oa the loose breezes, wanton Zephyr press
BLACK HEATH. 25
A sportive kiss upon her smiling cheek.
Scattering the silver leaflets on her breast 2.>
In frolic dalliance : — then, she hastes away^
And o'er yon streani;,* that here and there reflects
Amid it's dark blue willows the gay beams.
Picturing the mingling joys and griefs of life.
Jocund she leads the renovated hopes, 30
And makes e'en sorrow sparkle. — Wayward, swift.
The wide extensive prospect she pervades.
More rapid than the ecstatic soul of Sound
When joyous Music treads the waves of air.
And Echo still repeating the sweet strain.
Darts from the vaulted grot to her embrace, 35
* A small river called the Ravensbouni that mns in the vallej
between Blackheath and the Lewisham hills.
26 BLACK HEATH.
How fair, how gay the landscape glitters round ! — '
Lo, in the front a craggy delve is seen.
Its rugged eastern side in deepest shade
Almost conceal'd, save that the slanting rays 40
Glance, glist'ning, on the topmost weeds that fringe
The jutting hillocks : — Bright the yellow broom
Spreads westward, or beneath the dingy ridge
Waves to the breeze it's undistinguished arold :
While the pale cowslip, e'en within the obscure 4a
Of the dark hollow shews its dewy eyes.
And violets lost in shade perfume the gale.
From the loose sandy cavity, this spring.
Slow oozing, spreads it's wide and plashy bed.
Where water daisies and brown cresses grow 60
Bent by the trickling current : — there a dame
Aged and wretched — crippled by disease--^
BLACK HEATH. 27
Stoops feebly on her crutch aiid culls wild licrbs
With palsied hand. — There, ewes are seen dispersed
Adown the shelving dell and o'er the heath, 55
Scarce cropping the short grass, while bleating loud.
They call their lambs that sport about the slopes.
Who shall explain this fond instinctive care,
This anxious interest in another's good.
Untaught by those reflections, those sweet hopes, GO
That in the human mind depict the days.
When with full joy the mother shall behold
Her offspring rise to manhood, — view in him.
All the best wishes of her soul complete !
Without such aid of hope, yon fleecy dams Gb
Attend their charge, unconcious, — soon forgot.
Whether beneath the cruel knife they bleed.
Or grown mature, they mingle with the flock..
38 BLACK HEATH.
How different if yon withered cripple knew
A darling child : — saw health and vigour fill 70
His form with manliness :— She all day long
Would nurture anxious hope — would talk of him —
Would loll her many cares in him repaid —
Would boast of him, her honour and support : —
When, 'mid her joy, disease, perhaps, or vice, 75
Or the malignant breath of haughty power
Blasted her branch of comfort ! — down she sunk-
Wrecked — ah, more piteously than he whose bark
Long tempest-beaten, hails the wished for port.
And founders in the entrance I — o'er her brain — 80
O'er all the traces of the tenderest hope.
Creeps black Despondency — and in her heart
Thro' every soft sensation darts his fangs.
Till the delirious spirits sink subdued
BLACK HEATH. 29
Into cold torpor, and reluctant life 85
Rolls his dull stream of misery thro' her veins.
But ah, amid a scene so wide, so rich--^
With all the luxury of joyful light
Diffusive round — while Nature seems to feel
The vernal kiss of Heaven's returning care, 90
And with the animated smile of love.
Utters delighted gratitude, — ah why
Dispel the genial pleasures ? — why observe
The obtrusive sorrows of the human heart ?
Is it that wheresoe'er we gaze, they rise I 95
That Nature's loveliest paths are but their stage
WTiere, with the contrast of her beauteous bowers
Their melancholy drama pains the morei
But who upon the gorgeous theatre
Shall fix his eyes admiring, while a tale 100.
Bj Pity told in action wooes his tears.
And calls up all the interest of his soul ?
Ever, O social Sympathy, be mine ?
Thou art the human instinct, — and the breast
That can annul thee, ceases to be man ! 1G&
Wide our corporeal wants, — but wider far
The wants of Science, Tenderness and Taste;
Wants of the soul encreasing thro' our lives.
Extend thy general empire : — Thou art all
Of conscious happiness, that's known on earth : — 1 10
The mutual claims of fond reliance — Love,
Duty and generous Friendship flow from thee. —
For what is self ? — not solitary man : —
That monster. Nature knows not : — the mean wretch
Who in the compass of his narrow breast, 115
Confines his hopes and wishes, knows no joy.
BLACK HE ATI I. 31
A deadening stupor is his highest bliss :---
He hath no attribute of man, but form-—
He is not human:— madness, not self-love.
Makes each cncreasing misery all his own, 120
And severs him from pleasure.— But when thou.
Celestial Svmpathy, didst stamp thy law
On reasoning mind and mate our wants pronounce
Man scarcely individual— -a mcer part 135
Of social life, which separate, is nought;—
Then all the Virtues, all the Pleasures rose.
And choirs of generous Duties sang aloud,
" Love one another, as ye Mould be loved :
" By that immeasurable, boundless rule 130
■' Do good to all mankind :— -so shall return
f Tenfold the bliss, wherewith ye seek to bless."
Resume^ fair Cheerfulness, thy dulcet lute.
And 'mid the clear expansive blue of heaven.
Pursue yon lark and imitate his strain.
For what, but the delightful scene beneath, 135
Inspires him?— -What but sunny meads-— bright hills— -
The glow of Nature, bursting" on his heart.
Can tune his voice to such etstatic airs
Of sprightly melody? — Give me his song —
Pour his expressive music through my verse, 14€
And let me half forgetful of all grief.
Share with yon gladsome bird, the charms of Spring.
How far yon cultivated vale extends, —
While eastward wave the darkly shaded elms
In varied groups — between them streams the light, — 145
And o'er yon meadow, — down this furrowed steep, —
Soft brightness, with deep shadows mingled, streaks
The beamy prospect: — Up yon rise, a flood
Of tender radiance, fluctuating rolls
It's ruflled surface, when the young rye bends
Beneath the bpecze, or when a passing cloud
Whose gauzy substance scarce restrains the rays, 155
Throws for a moment o'er the lucid scene
It's hesitating shade.— Yon ancient spire
By it's co-eval elms encompassed round— -
(Where, late, the Voice of Nature touched my car
Loud swelling 'mid the venerable tombs; 160
While the' soft notes of Spring, s>inphonious, seemed
Thro' all their sweet varieties to close
In that deep solemn cadence)— and yon dome,
IVIore fair in contrast with the ebon firs
That wave against it's side, crown the clear slope—- 165
Ere 3et the tender distance spreads, confused^
Blending the lessening objects :— the faint mist
Thence undulating,— between light and shade—*
Floats the 'mid landscape with imperfect tints: —
Yet there a track of yellow blossomed herbs 170
Shews its bright gold investing the gay hillj—
And the pale green of yonder infant corn
Reflects a softer lustre ;— while the cots
Each lattice catching the refulgent beams,
GHsten like silver stars amid the gloom. 175
Nearer, fair villas rise— there where the hill
Descends abrupt, gay gardens to the sun
Offer their cultured fragrance and his beams
Court with Hesperian fruits and Indian shrubs :—
The cool Ananas— the rich Orange grove — 180
The rose of Candia and such myrtle boughs
As might have shaded the Castalian fount
And crowned Anacreon when lie sang of Love.
There the Pavilion,* with fantastic roof.
Reflects the glistening sun beams, while around 185
Young Vegetation lifts his verdant brows
And in a thousand forms obeys the call
Of genial Warmth :---A beauteous Princess here
Receives the earliest offerings of the Spring-
Congenial Spring, o'er whose celestial front 190
The expanding rose buds breathe, approaching, smiles
Like a beloved sister, who presumes
To aid the wishes of benignant Power,
And share the task of blessing this fair isle.
Hark— -how the shout of youthful merriment 193
Bursts, startling, on the morn:— the jocund troop
* The name of a Summer-house in the garden of her Royal High',
ness the Princess of Wales, situated on the south side pf Blackbeath.
Proclaim their holiday and winged for sport
Bounds buxom, o'er the hillocks :— Loud their joj;,
Elastic, mounting in the sprightly tides.
That flush the full vermilion o'er their chefeks ; 200
Brilliant, as when Aurora's rosy hand
Unfolds the curtain of awakening Light.
Not the wild fawns within some glen remote.
Sheltered from fear by interwoven boughs
Scarce by the sun transpierced,— more lightly leap 205
The blossomed brambles or the mossy rills.
How beautiful when young and void of care
The human soul appears !— that moment's full.
Full to the brim with pleasure unalloyed ;—
While Joy unvalued— quick forgotten Grief 210
Dart thro' each rapid, unremembered day !
Yet, tell me, ye who cherish the fond thought
And with regret review those infant hours.
BLACK HEATH. 37
V^lien, SorroWj with a momentary pang,
Wounded but left no sting-— when airy Joy 215
Fluttered around you on resplendent wing.
Rut scarcely settled;— say, wherein consists
The happiness of intellectual man ?
Is it not in the number of desires.
Whose sweet enjoyment Prudence may permit, 220
Rather than in the dearth of tender hopes
And dullness of oblivion ?---If not so,-—
The brute is happier even than the child,-—
And in your scale of bliss, the purple bud
With only one fair gift of smiling life, 225
Cradled in tender verdure, happier still
With soft insensibility exists;—
But happiest far, the cold unconscious rock
WTiose torpor sheathed the breast of Niobe,
Or modelled by the chissel, mpcks the soul 230
38 BLACK HEATH.
With semblance of sensation.— Drop not thus
Into the silent slumber of the tomb ;—
But gaze with ardent eyes on Nature's charms !
Lo, active Virtue strewing Pleasures round —
Delights to Memory— transports to fond Hope ;— 235
While Science leads the persevering mind
To high, yet mild enjoyments, ever new !
Nor Cheerfulness in such a morning walk
Shall woo in vain thy weary heart from woe :—
She from each object animates some train 240
Of bright reflections— some renewed desires—
And makes us feel how sweet it is to live
While living we increase the powers of life.
How full," -how various spreads the scene around :
The mind dilates o'er all the ample view, S45
Like the expansive radiance of the sun;— «
Black HEATH. S9
but, weak Expression would in vain essay
To copy the rich picture from the sight.
Yonder gay hedges intermingling close
Or like loose net work o'er the distant hill, 250
Seem careless thrown : there, branchless and uncouth
Tall trees aspire, and the low pollard oaks
With their wide branches in the distance, mark
The slowly winding lane :— -yon dell abrupt
Where the thick smoke from the high kiln ascends, 2b'i
Houses and clustering trees of every hue-—
Meadows and blossomed shrubs and flow 'rets wild :---
The glistening Ravensbourn, scarce seen amid
His silvery willows— the loud mill— the herds
That in dark droves low o'er the echoing marsh, S60
The ploughboy's whistle as his side long share
Furrows the steep descent;— the tinkling bells
Of the slow team, that, straining, labours up
40 BLACK HEATH.
The tedious road— the tedious road itself
Lost in the umbrageous vale, whence roofs and boughs
Close mingling rise in tiers— roofs above roofs, 265
And boughs in rich perspective clustering spread
Boughs above boughs, until embraced, thy fane
Proud Lewisham,* who hast seen kings welcome kings.
Nay more, hast seen a joyous multitude 270
Leave the deserted capital to meet
Their grgat victorious sovereign,— high appears
'Mid the thick foliage :— then, receding hills 275
* Lewisham is a very ancient village on the Ravensbourn, and is
famous for having been the spot of many great interviews. In 1415
the Emperor of Constantinople was here leceived by Henry IV. Here
rier.ry VIII. met Ann of Cleves : in the same reign, a deputation here
welcomed the high Admiral of France and Archbishop of Paris. In
1416 the Emperer Sigismund resided here; and in 1474 Edward IV.
here received a convocation of Londoners. At Lewisham also, the
Lords temporal and spiritual attended by the Lord Mayor, Aldermen
and crowds of the inhabitants of London met Henry V. on his return
(rom the conquest of France.
BLACK HEATH. 41
Of various forms romantic, various tints^
That lead the piercing sight to farther hills, 275
And these to farther, till, more faint and faint.
The pale grey distance mingles into mist.
Floating the horizon with uncertain bounds.
O, if I dared to wish,— so frequent foiled-—
Dared yet again to call on Fancy's aid, 280
And for a moment raise a dream of life,-—
This vrere the moment !---tliis the lovely scene
The theatre of days, which ne'er must be !---
Alas, Imagination, sickening, sighs
And gives-- -reluctant gives— -the faded forms 285
Of that ideal Future,— fondly drawn
In vivid colours, ere the constant tear
Of Disappointment dulled their lucid tints.
Yet still the oft built cottage will appear
On this delightful spotj— it's whitened front, 290
Full to the south, resplendent with the sun ;—
While, underneath the thick and curling vine.
The panting Zephyrs wave their silky vans
At every window :— fronting to the east,
A smaller casement, opening to the morn, 295
Should give, uncurtained, to niy wakening eyes
Life's earliest beams:— for nought I'd lose of life-
No, I would grudge each instant, and Repose
His short reign ended, should release my mind.
Fresh kindling with existence '.—straight with me, 300
The mental part of the great dead should wake : —
Virgil or Horace or his deeper truths
Should the persuasive Tully speak again :—
Or Spenser wrap me in his fairy dream.
Or Sharspear hurry me thro' every sense 305
BLACK HEATH. 45
Of trembling feeling,— Or to the theme sublime
Of mighty Milton should my soul attend,
'Till the wide effluence uncreate of light
O'erwhelm me,— or, the dark and hollow vault
Suffused with lucid flame appear and shake 310
Thro' all its echoes with the dire debate
Of fallen Seraphs :— Or, with gentler verse.
Should Thomson lead me thro' the annual path
Of genial Nature and the varying God !
Or, in majestic numbers, should the strain 315
Of Akenside unfold the human mind
And thee. Imagination;— by the light
Of Genius kindled at the eternal throne
Displaying thee,— thee beautiful, sublime.
And wonderful !— Then should the sacred fire 320
That burns for ever in their powerful verse.
Illume my breast and give Ideas life :—
IdeaSj that buried in the daik^ cold grave
Of death-like want, oft mid the silent night
Gleam faintly forth and fondly whisper fame, 325
And group their spectre forms around the shrine
Of Poesy and Science :---they should live-
Cherished should live, my pleasure and my pride I
But not harmonious numbers should absorb
Me wholly ; Science should recal my mind 330
To studies decorate with Truth alone ;
Beauteous without the robes that Fancy weaves.
And to the ardent strength of manly thought.
Most lovely thus by simple Truth attired.
Geometry, with slow and solemn pace, 335
Should at my side explain the forms of things.
And, patient, trace the fluctuating point*
* Those parts uf Geometry which treat of curves are here alluded
lo. The relation, vhich many curves, particularly the circle, bears
BLACK HEATH. 45
Whicli, as the right line bends into the curve.
Unsettled trembles :— -or, indefinite.
The millionth fraction of a viewless grain, 3i0
Escaping human sense (yet, to the mind
A mazj space, where thought perplexed is lost)
Conceals infinity from mortal sight.
Or thou, with all the light of all thv suns,
Shouldst pour thy mighty splendor on my soul 345
Astronomy— and bid my Reason pierce
Thro' vast surrounding systems to that pov\er
to a right or straight line forms a series of investigations wliich
have occupied the attention of all iMathcinaticians and still remains
unresolved. Sir Isaac Newton, by his invention of the doctrine of
Fluxions, endeavoured to overcome tiie difficulties which this incom-
prehensible relation or ratio creates in Science. Cy this wonderful
doctrine we obtain any determineil d.grec of approximation, but the
exact coincidence lies probably beyond the powers of human concep-
tion. We therefore conclude that tlio relation between a curve and
right line exists in infinite minuteness, subject to the same inscrutable
Taws that extend the unsearchable magnitude of the boundaries of the
46 BLACK HEATH.
Creative and attractive— sovereign Good-"
Felt thro' all space— the cause and sphere of all !
Then not the Hesperian sun^, whose orient beams^
Unclouded o'er the clear cerulian vault 350
Effulgent break,— should more serenely keep
It's purple promise of a beauteous day^
Than should my mind so rising, pour the rays
Of Peace and mild Content and ]>la€id Joy, 335
O'er my uiuuflled life :— my Gracia's love
With anxious tenderness should animate
The still, soft hours :"-the temperate repast
By her prepared, luxurious, should invite
Content and Friendship to the frugal board. 360
Content, from whom each genial blessing flows.
The genuine priest of Nature,-— at whose voice
The Hopes and Fears,— the tempests of our lives.
BLACK HEATH 47
Breathe like light Zephyrs o'er the cahn smooth lake.
Rippling- its sunny surface :— Friendship, too, 363
Free, independent Friendship, Social Mind,
With sentiments unbiased, uncontroled
By timid obligations---strenuous,-— just,— -
Pledged to the cause of Truth, should here converse.
Expand the bosom and exalt the soul. 370
Nor, from the board by Gracia drest, should Lo\e,
Endearing Love, be absent ; v liom Esteem
And the soft Fellowship of jov and woe
And mutual consolation, mutual care.
So fondly nurture, that e'en now the flame, 375
E'en now amid affliction, the bright flame
Sheds such a gleam of pleasure o'er my grief.
That, let my wish be cancelled— let my cot
Shaded with breezy foliage— let my morn
Irradiate with science, blessed with songs 380
Of soul entrancing poets---let my Say
Of placid study, friendship and content.
E'en in idea perish— let me pass
In servile misery all my tedious hours.
Rather than lose that sweet domestic Love,
That lives on Graci\'s lips and soothes all woe.
Arch in L.il>v UicHi's Park.
A MORNING WALK IN THE SPRING
vJ ROVE around lliis blossomed HeatiI with me.
Thou mental Spirit— energy of Song-—
Muse! — (for that name, so frequent heard, thou lovcst.
And oft of old, bv that invoked, hast culled
Sweet flowers of Fancy for thy favoured bards, 5
Shading their brows with amaranth and bays) —
Then rove this heath v, ith me Celestial Muse !
Nor deem my subject mean, tho' my weak hand
Touchj tremulous, the faintly sounding strings.
Or if the scene of rude romantic delves 10
Coated with moss and rich with golden bloom
Delight not now ;— if not the extensive plain— -
Yon mills, high placed and restless in the wind—
This moated mound* surrounded with dark fir.
Where it is said the bones of rebels sleep ;— 15
If not the objects of the busj road.
The rapid horse—- the dust-cnvelloped chaise—
The motley peopled stage— -the trudging clown
* The heatlis ot Kent are remarkable for mounds of earth, sur-
rounded with moats. Bhickheath had many of these mounds formerly,
but, at present, only one remains, encompassed by fir trees, and
forming a picturesque object near the Park Wall. These mounds are
supposed by some to be the buiying places of such as have fallen in the
many rebel armies that have been defeated in this county. On Black-
heath it is said, that Wat Tyler assembled one hundred thousand men.
Jack Cade, under the name of Mortimer, encamped here in the reign
of Henry VI. and here in the reign of Henry VH. the Cornish rebels-
to the number of 20,000 were defeated.
His all upon his shoulders^ sold his cot.
About to sell himself for anxious cares 20
And yon rank city's toilsome misery ;—
If not the herd that heavily move on
Along their clouded path, with hollow sounds
Of feeble lowing and of bleating faint.
And shepherd-dogs with sharp continued bark ;--- 23
If not for these thou deignest the pictured strain.
Yet rove with me and animate my song.
Where Commerce, Arms and Science o'er the scene
From every object breathe the patriot theme I
What tho' no mountain with terrific front, SO
Star-crowned and robed with thunder here denote
This center of mankind*— this social pole—
* It is almost needless to observe, tliat in the following lines, the
Observatory in Greenwich Park is alluded to; from whicli, the eastern
53 BLACK HEATH.
Round which our busied intermingling race
Perpetual move as Commerce guides them round ;
Yet from this beauteous hill, Urania deigns 35
To count her eastern and her ^A'estern steps.
Oft as she treads the circuit of this globe.
Fixing her bright meridian's steadfast ring.
Upon this favoured summit. Here reclined
She meditates the great primeval law,* 40
Which through the vast infinity of worlds.
Was, ere the utterance ceased that bade them, be.
Felt in each center. Or, with mild discourse.
and western Longitude is reckoned on all British maps ar.d globes: Tiie
residence of the Astronomer Royal is still called Flamsteed Mouse, from
Flamstecd the first Astronomer Royal, appointed in l075. The present
is the Rev. Dr. Nevil Maskclyne, who was appointed in 1703. To his
project of a Nautical Almanac, and to his science in the conduct ot it
since the year 1767, is the Navigation and consequently the naval and
commercial power of the kingdom, highly indthttd.
« The law of Cir.ivlt;itian.
Slack HE ATI t. 55
in human diction her hie;h thoughts compressed^
She speaks of Number, Motion, Time and Space, 43
'Till human diction sinks beneath the theme ;
'Till e'en a Newton or a Maskclj ne
Whose swift percepti\e minds precede her words.
Cannot express the wisdom they attain.
Tho' they the rapid series with the slow* 50
Blend in refined relations, — or direct
The flow of endless Number,f endless Space
* LocAUiTiiMs, the invention of Baron Neper, of Merchiston, ih
Scotlanil, are constructed on the aniilogies of two series of numbers.
The natural numbers proceed in the order of their powers and therelore
uilh accelerated velocity : the artificial numbers or Logarithms are the
indices or gradations of the powers and therefore proceed in the common
numerical order. Various species of Logarithms have been formed and
calculated to an astonishing extent by Dr. Hutton of Woohvich, and
by Dr. JNIaskelyne, who superintended those which are published under
the authority of the Board of Longitude.
t Fluxioxs, the first and perhaps the most subtle of the disco-
veries of Sir Isaac Newton, is the Doctrine of the increase or decrease
of (juantity in relation to the regular progress of Time. By seizing the
54 BLACK HEATH.
And by the march immutable of Time,
Compute the varying motion. Language droops.
And leaves us scarce a sense of what they know. .55
Or to the weak perspective* of our sight.
She, Muse of the eternal Spheres, displays
The great sidereal conclaves, where enthroned
Each in his mighty orb, the Powers of Light,
Profuse of vital effluence, sit convoked, 60
Myriads of peopled worlds, attendant round : — ■■
idea of such increment or decrement at each instantaneous formation,
he put a new and irresistible edge to that most acute of all the instru^
ments of human reason, Algebra or analytical Arithmetic.
* The perspective consideration of the Universe, as suggested and
investigated by Dr. Herschel, is one of the boldest conceptions of the
human mind, and yet founded on the simple principles of vision. That
which man has hitherto denominated the Universe is but one Nebula or
assemblage of suns with their attendant planets about their common
center of gravity; and those appearances which astronomers have
termed nebulous Stars, are other similar assemblages, each an Universe
to the minute inhabitants of the planets belonging to its collected suns.
But of our solar star and his vast train
Of planets and tlieir planets, chief she speaks ;—
And of this Earth where circumscrihed we move ;—
While in its mould involvedj ethereal mind, 65
Informs this mortal frame with more than Life :
Then of the Moon, who shares her silvery day
With our nocturnal hours, — at whose approach,'
Ocean, disturbed thro' all his waves, upheaves
His sides saline, and mighty rivers casts 70
Back on their sources ; while the Sylphs of Air,
Dilating their light pinions, rapid, rush
In panting bands, obedient to their Queen.
Of these she speaks : — Old Thames in silence hears—
Fair Commerce leaning on his azure breast 75^
Listens delighted — Naval Power, who like
Some Guardian God involved in fearful clouds.
gits on the borders of his favourite stream.
Stills his deep thunder, and attentive bends.
Gaze eastward from the brow of this gay hill, 80
Whose slopes the blue fir shadows, — there, behold
The proudly swelling river welcome home.
The numerous vessels of- yon wealthy fleet.
Slow and majestic 'mid the embracing waves.
That glistening break against each sea worn prow, 85
They move deep freighted — their long furrowed path
Glows far behind refulgent, while the sails.
Bosomed by native breezes, wide distend
In snowy folds or at the changing helm
Tremble disturbed and throw a wavering shade 9Q
Across the sparkling current: — thus by night,
"When with the softer radiance of the moon.
The full illumined concave smiles serflne.^
Arise light trains of silver vested clouds>
Slow floating on the lucid waves of air.
, Now swarm the busy banks and joyous shouts 9j
Salute the intrepid seamen, who with songs
And loud huzzas reverberate the joy.
T^len from his dark and thunder bcarina: sides
Their tutelary Lion shakes a peal
Of dreadful exultation to announce lOO
The western wealth, confided to his charge.
Protected from the foe, the insidious foe,
MTio like the cruel tiger, trembling, lurks
In his dark den, — then, darts upon his prey,
Unfold yon lofty water-gates — for lo ! 105
The river Tritons heave the eddying flood,
And through their gurgling shells, impatient, pour
Deep murmuring music: — 'mid the sedgy marsh
Behold the tropic Goddess moves along
Upon the rushing waters : — Commerce hails 110
Her lovely friend, and bids her palace rise
Beside the margin of a placid lake*
Where the dark tempest breathes not. — There her cane
Pours copious streams of juices, that surpass
The honied treasures of the peopled hive. — 115
Ah, would that cane as innocently grew
As the wild thyme that vests the mountain's side !
Where, while the dew hangs glistening on its leaves.
And the moist zephyrs of the morning breathe
Its fresh perfume, the winged labourers swarm, 12Q
Jlxtracting, eager, from uninjured flowers
* The West India Docks, on the Isle of Dogs.
ULACK HEATH. 59
iDelicious wcallli — for which no brother bleeds !
For which no hive of duskier wing, enslaved.
Toils groaning, on the scorching southern steep.
Till the hot sickening air dissolve their bonds, 125
And misery, at length with life, expires !
O Commerce, wilt thou still pursue the steps
Of cruel Avarice ? — Lo, beside him stalk
Across the darkened regions of the earth.
Rapine and Death — and clanking dreadful chains, 130
Vindictive Slavery, muttering forth revenge !
Thee, gentle intercourse of our wide race,
Mingling the toils and wants of every clime.
And making one great family of Man,
Thee, Science, thee Philanthropy implore — 135
To thee. Philosophy with solemn voice
Assigns delightful traffic — to difluse
GO BLACK HEATH.
Fair Nature's varied blessings o'er the globe I —
To solace the rude tenants of the pole
With fruits that ripen in the tropic sun !— 140
To store the ice-barr'd caverns of the North,
With that bright fluid which the mellow grape^
On Ebro's banks distils, or where the Po
Thro' purple plains rolls his harmonious stream:—
To waft Arabian fragrance and the breath 14&
Of India's fervid spices thro' the air.
Where the pale Frost sits silent, fixt as Death,
In dreadful solitude!-— 'Tis thine to cuU
The silvery cotton's vegetable fleece.
Whether its flossy filaments arc seen 150
Like floating snow o'er Ganges' tepid waves.
Or whether as the sea-breeze faintly pants
Upon the Atlantic isles, with downy showers.
Wayward, it fills the undulated air;—
'Tis thine to bear it to the British loom, 153
Where in light woofs the tender texture grows.
Swells into folds transparent, or entwines
A close soft fabric with its mossy threads.
Had I the pastoral reed, that Dyer's lips
Touched with sweet descant, I would make resound IGO
Thy favoured stream, O Commerce, and these hills
That rise in gentle verdure from his chores.
With praise of thy chief treasure.-— Hark, the vales
The flowery mountains, the extensive plains
Of this blest Island, bleat aloud the theme ! 165
From the mild borders of the gentle south,
W here the wild rose and woodbine freely yield
Their fragrant breath, far as the northern rocks.
Where Scotia hears the indignant Ocean heave
The heavy Arctic fetters from his limbs, 170
And roar enraged around her echoing coasts.
The fleecy vesture spreads.— The cheerful swains
Proud of their numerous flocks— proud of those cares
That make Britannia richer from herself.
Than when she grasps each India and exerts 175
Her awful strength to keep them both her own.
Meet emulous and crown with festive song
Their patriotic labours: — every hind
Who watched the fold thro' many a wintry night, .
And rested not until his charge was housed, 180
^Yhen from the dismal east, the dark thick sleet
Fell transverse, driving thro' the turbid air.
Rejoices now with Nobles of the Land,
Who love this Island more than guilty spoil
And Indian homage— and with fond delight 185
Nurture the sinews of its native strength I
BLACK HEATH. 63
For what but its internal stores of wealth.
The wealth of Toil and energies of Art
Dost thou, O Commerce, claim this Island thine?
For what but that creative force of mind, 190
That calls the uncouth produce into form.
And makes the iron ore out value gold?
For not where nature with profusion pours '
Unlaboured plenty o'er the sickening clime.
Not where on unpruned boughs the full fruit bursts, 195
And disregarded yields its nectared flood
To the hot sun ; not w here sweet odours sleep
Upon the motionless and heated air
And with oppressive languor lull the soul;—
No— nor where pleasure presses the rich giape, 200
While the bright foliage casts luxurious shade.
And soft voluptious melody consumes
The enervated perceptions, wilt thou fix
64 BLACK HEATH.
Thine empire, Powerful Commerce:— Iho' beneath
The branching verdure, 'mid the dusky fruit 205
The tender worm weave there his silken tomb;—
Tho' there the streams display their golden sands;—
Tho* there the Nereids bind their hair with pearls
And plant the coral round their glittering grots;
Not there, tho' diamonds thro' the glistening earth 210
Dart forth pellucid radiance, wilt thou deign
To set thy central throne!— But here, where mail.
Performing the high task by heaven assigned.
Improves for general use each several good
Of every climate; ---here, thy realm endures; 215
And Britain holds from thee the high command
To bless with all thy cares the human race.
Her Manufactures form thy power and pride ;---
Whether Salopia moulds the vitreous vase.
Or skilful Sheffield into wond'rous shapes 220
BLACK HEATH. 65
jFashions the lucid steel — or Birmingham,
^^ itli plastic touch, compresses the rude ore
And makes it bend to all the wants of man; —
Whether the wealthy loom, with powerful grasp.
Connects the mingling flcec?, •--whether those stores, 223
(The rough unshapen produce of the world.
Which all its nations heap upon these coasts)
Are wrought into new fabrics, and again,
Encreased in value more than if the hands
Of the Mygdonian monarch had embraced 230
Each bale transmuted, they by thee are borne
Back to their native clime, or, oer the globe
In various ports delight and aid mankind : —
Still, whatsoe'er the labour, thou beholdst
Thy sceptre here supported, and it's sway 235
By Industry and generous Art preserved.
Broke into gcnile vallieS;, lo the hills
Yield sloping— -where the bough that Maia loves.
The blossomed ha-vA'thorn, spreads its snowy wreatli.
The halcyon chaplct of the genial year : — 24Q
In long majestic vistas, yonder elms
Extend their solemn ranlcs :— the Iberian beech
Waves wide its ample arms and leafy robes, —
While crested with light pyramids of bloom
Castania graceful spreads her tufted form, \ 2iot
A canopy of foliage o'er the path ; —
And deeper shaded pines, with azure gloss
Floating luxuriant on their clouded boughs.
Hang their dark tresses down the shelving steep.
Already o'er the hill's more shady side, 25Q
Where yet the dew bedrops the moistened herbs.
The motley deer spread numerous, and this vale.
Thro' which long shadows from each ridge oblique
Stream faintly, is with many a straggling group
Loose scattered o'er. Proud of its lonely elm,* 255
Yon height protrudes its brown and arid brow,
A contrast to the verdant banks around : —
Turrets with mock antiquity and spires
Envelloped in thick verdure, farther rise.
In darker forms, obtrusive 'gainst the beams, 260
That, spreading from the east, preserve soft tints
Of palest yellow, wl:eresoe'er the morn
Throws her light veil upon the lingering clouds.
O, might I wander 'mid so fair a scene.
My mind unburdened with diurnal toil, 265
How often would I fix my gaze on thee.
*OneTree Hill, rises on the North East part of Greenwich Park ;
beyond it and without the walls of the park, are Vanburg Fields,
famous for buildings in grotesque or antique architecture. That which
was built by Sir John Vanburg, is said to be after the model of the
the Bastile, and was called the Bastile House; it is now called Vanburg
Expressive Muse and strive to win thy song'.
That holds the tinted landscape in its verse.
Glows with the sun — pants with the ethereal breeze.
Or rolls, in meditated eloquence, 370
The philosophic theme of Truth along !
Pensive beneath yon solitary elm.
An aged seaman sits : — fixed is his eye
On the rcfulg-ent stream that flows below.
Where the rich radiance, an impervious mist 275
Of brilliant light, plays on the sparkling waves.
And with suftusive lustre veils the scene.
His only arm o'ershades his aching sight.
That pierces, anxious, thro' the dazzling air.
And rests upon its object (scarcely seen, 280
Yet known to the best feelings of his heart)
The vessel that he fought in from his joulh :—
BLACK II EAT il. 60
Shc^ on whose deck he oflen joined the shout
Of battle and of victoijj — she, whose sides
Enclosed the field of all his inaulj forte, 283
The scene of all his friendships :— not a plank
But bears some mark of blood, which once he loved !
On this side, by the foremost cannon, fell
His own right arm, wl.cn in pursuit she spread
Her crouded sails, and on the dastard foe 29Q
Bore down Britannia's thunder. — Slowly now.
She drifts up heavily upon the tide :
As when an eagle, wounded in 'mid air.
On languid pinions motionless awhile.
Floats on the aerial current, so slie moves, 295
A shattered burden on those very waves.
That often with their sparkling spray have kissed
Her welcome prow and, resonant, have dashed
Th;!ir silvery spume against her rapid sides.
to BLACK HEATH.
But ahj more swift than when the courted gales 300
Swelled her expanded canvas, does the mind
Of this poor mariner retrace her course
On distant oceans : — by the tempest driven
He braves the mountain billows, or, involved
In all the dreadful dissonance of fight, 305
Rends down the colours of the boarded foe !
On his rough brow Remembrance fondly gleams :
His brightened cheek thro' all its winkles smiles :
While frequent 'cross his eye, his moistened sleeve
Drawn hastily, wipes off some starting tear. 310
For you, ye Naval Warriors, you whose arms
The trident sceptre of your Country's power
Fearless sustain, and with it's terrors shake
The shores of distant nations— yes, for you
Your grateful Country frames the fondest cares. 31 a
BLACK HEATH. 71
What time, yon Palace* reared its glistening domes.
And on the borders of the elated Thames,
Magnificient upon i(s pillars stood.
Then spake the patriot Monarch—" Not for me,
" Tho' for the Sovereign of so fair an isle, 320
" A dwelling thus majestic, well might suit ;—
" Yet rather, let the veterans of the main,
" Let those who on our widest empire blcedj
* Greenwich Hospital stands on the scite of a Royal Palace
built by Humphry, Duke of Gloucester, and called Placen/ia or the
Manour of Pkasaunce. That palace was the favorite residence of many
Kings and Queens. Henry VIII. was born at it, as were his children
Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and King Edward VI. Charles II.
intended to rebuild it, and completed one wing at the expence of
^36,000, but James II. was too much engaged in his bi"otted and
' ' to o o
false politics, to attend to works of art, and it was left in that state
until the reign of AVilliam and Mary. From that amiable Queen,
originated the design of converting the palace into an hospital for
disabled seamen ; by her persuasions, the plan of the rest of the
edifice was rendered subservient to those purposes, but it was not
until after her death that her intentions were put into execution.
" Find here a liome— find solace and repose : —
" Here let the voice of praise — their country's praise —
" Sound loud and gladful : — here, let the cheering hand
" Their country's hand, sustain their drooping limbs,
" Bind up their wounds and pour the generous balm
" Of patriotic love o'er all their pains !"
O, could ray verse the mighty tlieme sustain, 330
And like the flood of yonder copious stream.
Roll upward, and with elevated course
Bear Britain's Commerce, — then the Patriot Muse
Might with her awful numbers aid my song, —
And as the ocean pours his mighty waves, 335
Dark with the crouded sails of every port
Upon the rising waters of the Thames,
So thou. Celestial Harmony, should'st pour
Thy resonant verse abundant with the fame
Qf Britain's naval and commercial slrong:th 340
Info my dariiii>: accents :— -Then, tlie.sc heights
With ail their echoes should repeat ni}^ notes,
•These groves retain them and delij^htcd Thames
Command his vessels from their thundering sides
To utter the deep cadence. But, to me 345
Such awful strains belong not :---ror, my hand
That, unsupported, veutured to awake
The British Lyre and to the lofty theme
Essayed the music of its deep toned chords;— -
Weak— faultering— struck the notes with palsied hand : —
The solemii notes, with cadence indistinct, 350
TJpon the silent sighs of air expired.
Yet while from this delightful hill I gazCj
vA.nd trace the river as it bends it's course
U BLACK HEATH.
Round many a headland,— winding, slow, along 35;/
With gfentle majesty, — while I behold
The anchored tessels lie like cltisteripo- townis
Buojant upon the waters — Or, the barks
That dip their bending sails and onward dart
Swift as, with moistened whigs, the swallow skims 360
Across the surface of a silent pool ;—
While yonder naval palace rears sublime
Its glistening cupolas, the noble home
Of the bold seaman !— -where the mighty Queen,
Elizabeth, who round these echoing <'oasts 365
Extended hfer winged barriers, thunder-fraught.
And shook the astonished empire of the deep.
And claimed that empire, first drew vital air ;* —
While thro' the cloud that stagnates in the west.
* Queen Elizabeth was born at the Palace of Placentis, on
7th September, 1753.
iloniul whose dark sides the smoky volumes roll, 370
Yon mip:hty c\t\ lifts his j^leamy spires.
And stretches his enormous bulk alons:
The loud resounding borders of the Thames ; —
While wliercsoeer I tinn, the world's groat mart.
With all the mingling interests of maiilvind, STTj
Appears before me, let nie bolder sweep
A louder chord and, ardent, speak to thee,
Albiox, m}' country !— of tliy Commerce speak—
And call thy merchants to attend my strain !
Proud, wealthy, powerful Albion-— placed by God 380
Amid his world of waters, that thy liand
Might hold secure the bonds of social good.
And make the partial blessings of the sun
Common to all his creatures;— O revere
The solemn duties of this high behest !— 83;^
Distain not with OppressioD,---}ior with blood
Of guiltj conquest,— -nor M-ith Slavery's tears,—
Nor 3ct with sordid Avarice tlicat sway,
Wliicli, like the wide diffusive liand of Heaven
Slioiild scatter plenty— and o'er all the earth, 300
Pour Sympathy, congenial Interest, Love,
Iinmeasurablv foith. — What time the voice.
Omnipotent, of the Eternal shook
Thy parted shores and rent thy chalky rocks.
And thro' the dreadful chasm poured the deep seas, 393
Loud shouts were heard in Heaven and Seraphs sang,
" Freedom and Justice and Commercial Power
" Beneficent, uniting all mankind
" By g'ood reciprocal-— yon Isle is yours !
" Make ye it's hills and vallies ring with joy — 40O
" With plenty crown its meadows, — let the Arts
*' Frequent its paths delighted, and let Peace
" Sit undisturbed upon it's lofty rocks.
IJLACK HEATH. 77
And smiling view the bulwark of the waves
' That chaff thoir ipchoing bases. For, above 405
" The cruel ^lory of the conqueror's fame,
" The splendid woes of triumph, and the shouts
" That thro' depopulated regions roll
'" Their dreadful celebration, — shall arise
" The INIercliant's honoured name : — with blessings, he
" Shall vanquish nations, — he .shall strew the waste 410
"' With generous plenty, and the barren rocks
" Where t!ie red sun upon the horizon gleams
" W ith torpid radiance, or where burning skies
" Pour downward, vertical, their torrid fires;-— 415
" Tracks where no human ever breathed before,
" Shall sound whh population ; while subdued
" Nature herself shall yield and own the power
" Of human Reason:— the united power.
" Oflntetest, Benevolence and Art." 420
Thus sang the sacred chorus : Freedom reared
Jlis beamy forehead 'mid the holy host.
And fixing on these promised plains his sight.
Smiled such irradiate transport, that the heavens
Shone brightenedi and the awful Source of Light 425
Gave sign of gratulation !*-— Justice gazed.
Joyful, as when prophetic Hope illumes
The abvss of Time and pictures loveliest scenes
With tints transcending Nature : — Commerce rose
More beautiful upon the lucid waves, 430
Tl^an young Dionc, when suffusive light
Empurpled all the Ocean where she stood ;
And the bright drops, like pearls of orient hue,
polled o'er her polished limbs : more Joydy fi%r
* The Earth
Gave sign of gratulation and each Iiill: Miltox.
■■ «• ■
The Power of Commerce rose and smiled benign: 435
The varying breezes swelled her floating vest.
And gcr.fly broke the sea's explainsive calm
AVith silvery unduliition :— round her car
In crouds the little nautili were seen
Hoisting their filmy sails and o'er the waves 440
Extending their iinumierable fleet;
While, armed like Love, appeared Magnetic Power,
A cherub form, who shook his dine:v winirs.
And shot his rapid arrows towards the north.
And still are Freedom, Justice, Commerce ours? 445
Still does the independent strength of Truth
Uphold thy throne, O, Britain? — O remain
tJnsevered from fair Freedom, who alone
Pours forth that reasoning Life, which animates
Collective man, — those beams of Social Ri<>rht 450
That vivify with individual worth
Each member of the state. Let Justice reigu.
With mightj arm uplifting the oppressed.
And hurling the accurst oppresor down.
E'en from the pinnaclp of countless wealth ! 455
Else, shall corrupted Commerce pine away.
And bloated Luxury and Avarice seizq
Thy unprotected laws:— the stranger, then.
With caution shall avoid thy dangerous marts
And from his ports exclude thy specious sails, 460
With plunder freighted, by the greedy hands
Of cruel Rapine, and no longer stored
With Manufactiire's famed, and high wrought toil !
But while with Freedom and with Justice blest.
Thou need^st not fear the vaunts of envious powers. 465,
fru^ Commerce views her ?afety in those laAvs,
That blend the human duties and regard.
Like lieaven itself, each individual claim.
Merchants of Albion, then, support those laws !
Courted by them alone. True Commerce here 470
Wafts her whole wealth ; — here, centers her wide realm;—
Of which the vast circumference surrounds
The human race. Whether the Atlantic waves
Amid her far extended fleet she treads.
While western breezes from her sunny breast 475
Distend the full folds of her flossy robe
And bend the high plumes of her tropic crown ;
( Meantime the far extended fleet pursues
Her watry steps, their guide her sceptre cane
Dropping luxurious sweets) — to you she comes ! — 480
Or, like some bright Sultana, moves she forth
From the secluded chambers of the East,
82 BLACK HEATH.
Where Merchants sit enthroned,— the Monsoon knows
The appomted time, and from Arabia wings
His odorous car to bear her onward :— slow — 485
Sublime, she floats above the lofty prow
Of some majestic vessel : — orient pearl
Bedrops with snowy light her raven hair :™
Her loose, light, silken stole, at every breath
Of vagrant air, throbbing expands, and yields 490
Fresh spicy fragrance to each scented breeze ;
She comes to you, — to you in triumph leads
The riches and the empire of the world !
For you, a ruder vest she not disdains.
But dares the horrors of the dreary pole, 495
Where the dark tempests, fearless of the sun.
Roll their eternal adamantine waves.
Clashing continual ! — direful dissonance!
The shaggy monsters of the dismal coast,
Amid their periodic death, ahirnied, 500
Shake shuddering their hoary sides, and howl.
And tremble thro' their trance. E'en there, for you.
Intrepid Commerce urges the bold bark.
In stormy chace, to track the enormous whale.
That sports upon the surges, and on high 505
Plays up his torrent-spouts upon the wind.
She hurls the heavy harpoon spear, and holds
The rapid cord, tenacious of its prey ;
While the surrounding waves enchafed arise.
And in tempestuous agony descends 510
The tortured monster. — Faintly from the deep
He lifts his panting bulk : — the billows foam
With his convulsive pangs, and 'gainst his sides
Break threatening :— while at every gasp he casts
A double flood, tremendous, towards the heaveriS. 515
Then swift another hurtling harpoon flies,,
And trembles in his palpitating hide :
Again he sinks in Ocean's depths, — again
Exhausted rises : in long sobs he sucks
The sickening air, and slowly to the sky 520
Throws a red deluge : dragged by the tightening ropes
He moves constrained :— a crimson furrow streaks
His lengthening wake: — when lo, a third time pierced,
A third time plunging in the deep, he groans ;
Then floats, upturned, upon a sanguine sea. 325
These toils undaunted Commerce dares for you ;
Nor these alone :— for you she seeks the haunts
Of every furry tribe ; whether amid
Siberia's dreary deserts they conceal
Their downy robes, the pride of regal pomp ; — 53Q
Or sheltered in the pine-crowned rocks that spread.
Their gloomy horrors o'er the unjjcopled tracks
Of the vast western continent, they hope
Concealment from the eager eye of man.
For you she calls the savage Indian forth 535
From dark retreats^ where, half the year engnlphed.
Beneath an alp of snow he dwells entombed.
To traverse wilds immense, and to your marts
Bring his rich spoils.-— For you the fearful tracks
Of dreary Afric's howling solitudes, 540
Where the hot earth burns dreadful to the tread.
And seas of sand roll on the fiery air.
And thirsty Lions roar, and the dark Snake
Rears high its panting throat, darts its dry tongue
And hisses loud for blood ;— e'en there, for you, 545
Roams eager Commerce : there the wily Moor
Or darker Ethiop, or from Niger's shores
People unknown by name, she fearless meets ;—
Or joins the wealthy Persians' wide array.
When superstition and desire of gain 650
Blend their thick ranks, and move along the waste.
Thusj every good^ the growth of every clime.
Unwearied Commerce heaps upon your shores';
And hids all nations venerate that Isle,
Which, like the eternal treasury of Heaven,
Is with the blessings of mankind replete.
HESfiBVUlH IN OftLiiNWiCU-PAait.
A MORNING WALK IN THE SPRING
CANTO yoi Rlil.
JI^J^AiL Independant Mind ! whom every Muse
Wooes, with celestial numbers, to her bower ;
Where, with irradiate bloom, the eternal rose
Bends o'er the never-fading amaranth, and sheds
Perpetual odours on the ambrosial air ! —
Hail, Independant Mind ! whom science loves.
And leads, delighted, 'mid the wonderous works
Of him who called existence from the void.
88 BLACK HEATH.
And breathed perception thro' the torpid clay !
Thee, Wisdom honours !— Virtue wings to thee lO
Her anxious flight, and glows in thy embrace !
For thee, expressive Nature fondly spreads
The dewy verdure, and the blossomed wreath ;—
Fills the whole air vvitli radiance ; — tints the clouds
With all that rich diversity of rays, 15
In loose refraction, trembling thro* the sky !
O, may I frequent meet thee ! — whether Morn
Unveil her blushing forehead, and the hand
Of ardent Fandy strike the ethereal Lyre,
Inviting thee o'er faintly-purpled hills ; — 20
Whether thou hear'st fair Evening, 'mid her shades,
Wooe thee in whispers softer than the breeze.
That fans the trembling foliage of the grove.
Where Contemplation pours her soul to thee ; —
Whether amid the innumerable stars, 25
BLACK HEATtt 89
Whose rapid rays thro' all their distant tracks
Dart trombliiig-, thou pursuest unchangina: Truth,
And, in the deep profound of Night, dost move
Along the orbits of the wandering globes.
Learning those laws ( Creation's awful bonds ) 30
That sway Infinity ; — Or whether midst
The walks of human life thou deignst appear.
And hearst the murmurs of tumultuous day.
And strivest to stem the impetuous flood of vice.
That overwhelms the energies of Man ;— 35
O may I frequent meet thee ! — frequent feel
Thy sacred impulse elevate my soul.
And, full of thee, contemn the oppressive world I
Hail, Independant Mind! — for surely now,
'Mid the pure air of such a radiant morn, 40
90 BLACK HEATH.
I see thee rising from the clouds of care.
And, farther— swifter— -than the solar beams.
Darting the clear effulgent light of thought !
O might I win thee with some votive lay
To shine with stedfast radiance o'er my path ! 4a
The song of Rural Labour most thou lovcst : —
The song of Rural Labour ; when the Earth,
Responsive to the cheerful toil of Man,
Smiles wide around thro' all her waving plains.
Nature herself gave Rural Labour birth : — 50
And when she bade him, strenuous, seize the plough.
And sow the broken glebe with peaceful wealth.
Thou, Independant Mind ! around him— (like
The animating presence of a God) —
Divinely beamed :— beside him Freedom stood : 55
Suspended on her spear, her helmet rung.
In martial sport secure;— but, quick resume(T,
BLACK HEATH. 91
Appalled each Tyrant with its awful gleam I
Then Meditation, Memory, and Song,
(The Muses' earliest names* ) pour'd solemn strains : 60
They taught Mankind obedience to just Laws;
Domestic duties ; — Patriotic Love ; —
And the firm policy of social strength !
They sung the genial produce of the year ; —
The varying Heaven with its directing signs ;— 6.5
Plenty and health ; gay vigour and content :
While thou, delighted with the sacred la}'.
Glowed with diffusive fervour wide around !
O would they now, descending on my path, 70
From this rich prospect deign select their theme ;
* Pausar.ias Musas tres connumerat, quas ait ab Aloi-i filiis
Oto et Epbialte sic noniinatas, piimam scilicet MiX£T»iv, hoc est
Meditationem: secuntlam M»>j;^>i», hoc est I^Iemuriam . tertiatn 'Amor,,,
hoc est Cantilenara, ((uod non ratioiie carere videbit is qui rem altius
Lil. Greg, Giraldus de Musis.
93 BLACK HEATH
This prospect, like Sicilia's lovely plains.
Where Ceres first, with wheaten chaplet crowned.
Enraptured, saw her long sought daughter raise*
Her golden tresses o'er the yielding glebe, 75
And for awhile, permitted, leave the throne
Of gloomy Pluto for her Mother's arms ;
This lovely prospect, like Sicilia's plains.
Might bloom eternal in celestial verse I
O then might I, with imitative lore, 80
Breathe forth the fainte-st cadence of their song.
Then would I win thee, Independant Minb,
To bless my Morning, and sustain my Day !
Nor will the Muses hence, in silence, turn.
' Vroserpinam vei'o quasi segetem voluerunt, id est teirani radicibus
proserpentem, quoe et 'Ej-.ar))'" grsece dicitur: lyarli/ er.im gra^ci! c«i^«»j
sunt: et ideo hoc illi nomen imponuntj quia ccntuplicatum Ceres
Where in soft wavy verdure spread the banks 85
Of yonder woodlands !— -o'er the uiievcu jrround
(Tlie long herbs throbbing; to the gentle breeze)
Contend the light and shadow, tremblingly : — ■
Thro' every break, between the hillocks, streams
Reflected radiance from (he silvery Thames; 90
Or some swift vessel shews its snowy sails.
Quick glancing past.-— The beech and lofty oak.
The azure fir proud of its pendant robes.
And the fair ash bending its graceful form.
Together blend their luxury of shade, 95
Sprinkled with fluctuant lustre from the rays
That pierce, half checked, amid the infant leaves.
'Tis here the generous Merchant finds repose,—
Courts Nature, — seeks that intellectual wealth.
Which, from filestores of Taste and beauteous TruthjlOO
Yields never-fading splendour : — here h^ weighs
94 BLACK HEATH.
The real worth of riches ; — hears the claims
Of Industry and Art ; and as the sun
Throws from his orb of congregated light.
Liberal, the beams of life ; so from his stores lOS
The powerful Merchant spreads with copious hand
The social blessings round. The canvas breathes.
For he sustains the artist : — The rough stone
Melts into all the impassioned forms that fill
The sculptor's mind ;— for liberate from care 110
Each bright idea reigns with ardent force.
And, like the great creative energy.
Lives on the yielding marble. Nor alone
The arts of Taste, but those of ruder mould.
That purchase social life with urgent toil, Il5
Encouraged by the Merchant, rise intproved
In honest emulation : hence the fleece
With finer threads repays the shepherd's care.
BLACK HEATH , 95
And from the loom in softer fabric spreads
Its downy folds : <ind hence tlic ca2,er plough 120
Grasps with unwearied share the barren heath.
Till Plenty smiles upon the vanquished glebe.
And waves her wlieaten tresses wide around.
Won from the waste yon furrowed track extends
Its teeming bosom, whence the human food 125
Bursts forth from every pore ! Hail genial sight ! —
On each green blade that struggles thro' the earth
Hang blessings, drawn from Heaven by the prayers
Of the delighted poor ! — For more— far more,
Js he the benefactor of mankind, J30
Who wrests one acre from the steril waste.
And bids the corn supplant the plumy fern.
Than he who strews his native plains with ore^
And scatters with luxurious hand around
The envied produce of each distant clime.
Revel ye Rich, in foreign luxuries ; — 135
Unsated spread whate'er the glowing earth
Yields to the fervour of the tropic sun
Wide o er your sparkling boards ; — but let the poor^
Who on his country's bosom seeks his bread.
Not from his country seek that bread in vain ! 140
False in the gorgeous splendour of that state,
Wliere the nutritious grain of foreign soils
Groans on the wharf of speculative trade.
Look round, and see how many wastes extend
Their steril bosoms ; where the yellow broom 145
Tlie blushing eglantine, and snowy thorn.
Like beauteous braids around a harlot's neck.
Spread useless; even where with matron pride.
The Earth, espoused to Labour, should unveil
Her breast redundant with her children's food. 150
Come Agriculture, independant source
Of public good, and vindicate thy claims !
The rugged mountain, and the desert plain.
Demand thee : — and, with cries, the wretched poor
Gaze, wistful, on the miserable wilds, 155
Imploring thee to save them from the power
Of cold, hard-hearted Avarice ! — O extend
Thy fruitful conquests— thy benignan realm —
And bid thy husbandmen, with proud content
Of generous independance, scorn the gains 160
That greedy Speculation ■wTings from Want.
IIem.4^in there yet some spirits unseduced
By wealth's pervasive pleasures ? Live there yet
98 BLACK HEATH.
Who coldly look upon their neighbour's pomp,
And see;, unemulous^ the chariot grace 165
The gate of haughty meanness ? — who can wrap
Their limbs, unblushing, in their country's fleece ?-—
"Who not disown the cottage ? — who not ask
To steep in juices of the Hesperian vine
That crust which Labour, with determined hand, 170
Disdainful of submission, cheerful reaps
From their abundant country's grateful soil ?
— Preserve them. Guardian Angel of this Isle!
Steel them against the taunts of bloated Pride,
And with that independance that thou lovest, " 175
'Gainst all temptation fortify their hearts.
For should a cruel mercenary power.
Nursed in the bosom of successful trade.
Pervade the realm with venal influence ; —
Chill, poisonous, every patriotic vein, 180
And stifle e'en (he eloquence of Tru<b ;
Still may the State, with all its rights, revive,
Deep rooted 'raid yon corn lands.— -Those bold hands
That hold the plough, and, independant, crush
Their wants beneath the clods, — they shall support 185
The crumbling fiibric of corrupted laws ; —
Thev, like their great forefathers, unsubdued,—
Shall shout amid the storm (the hireling power
Trembling upon its basis ) " Thou art safe
" Britannia !--fear not---thou shalt still be free !" 190
Beside you blossomed brake, where the broad fern
Rears high it's knotted tendrils, and o'erhangs
The saud-pijt's mossy ridge, a wretched man
Drops down his weary limbs in short repose.
His pendant rags display his shrivelled form, — 195
His sunk eyes scowl with famine, — his deep brows^
Contracted with habitual misery, lour, —
And o'er his forehead— o'er his hollow cheeks*
Mingle disease and grief their sallow tints.
— ' Unhappy being, whom each human woe 200
* Hath so severely wounded,— whence art thou ? — -
* And whither tend thy feeble, sorrowing steps ? *
" Alas, I strive to reach my native vale,
" Hence distant many miles ; where fruitful Kent
" Yields richest harvests to the labouring plough 209
" Harvests, which oft these hands have sowed and shared,
" There health and hope smiled on ray youthful days ;
" And Love, with all his promises of joy,
" Whispered soft transports to my throbbing breast.
" Thither I drag this miserable frame 210
" To pine out its sad residue of life
" Upon parochial alms ; — to lay this hcar^
" Where, mouldering-, it may mingle v>hh (hat (lust
"^ Parental lessons taught it to revere,
" The dust of it's forefathers ; — if their grave, 215
" That only spot that now retains their name,
" That last inheritance, be not denied !
" Say, would you hear the talc of my sad davs ?---
" Why, once possessed of land and well stored barns,
" I now implore the beggar's scanty boon, 220
" And ask but to possess my father's grave ! —
" Attend ,— -the tale is mournful, but not long.
" One proud, and cold of heart, whose, wealth had grown
" By Indian plunder, purchased large estates,
" Around m.y humble dwelling. He his gold 225
" Proflered to me for those my cherished fields ;—
" Fields that our race, a hardy honest line,
" Had clung to for whole ages ; for with love
'' Fond as the child, who on his mother's breast
*' Presses sweet infant kisses, doted we 230
*' Upon those lands, where, rooted like the oak,
" Our fair report extended far around.
" But who transplants the oak ?---'twere vain to hope
" To tear it up uninjured from it's soil,
" And see it yet survive : its sap would fail, 235
" And thro' the arid boughs a feverish drought
" Swift rushing, would devour the drooping leaves ;
" Burn up the withering branches ; and in scars
" Burst the dry bark, and scathe the lifeless trunk.
'* His proQers I rejected :— then he sought 240
" Means more oppressive ; all the low revenge
" That wealthy Pride imagines when despised : —
" The tortured law was wrested from its sense
** To rack the victim of determined power.
*' But British laws bend not with Indian case : 245
'* The sentence of my honest jurors oft
" Encouraged my resistance. Yet he slill
" Fostered new pleas ; — suborned a cringing- herd
" Of perjured slaves ; and led from court to court
" A dark, entangled, sophistry of claims, £50
" Embarassing tlie law he could not bribe.
" Around my home he nurtured cruel lies,
" Soul-wounding injuries, to make me quit
" My steadfast hold. Alas, resolved, I held
" Too obstinately firm. I might have saved, 255
" By losing every sense of honest pride
'' la base submission, her I might have saved,
*' Who with torn nerves, all shuddering at my wrongs,
" Fainted and left me ; in her clay-cold arms
" Bearing my clay-cold infant to that grave, — '^QO
" My father's grave ! — the grave that shall be mine !
" Cease agonizing memory, — cease regret !
" Heaven in compassion snatched them from my woes.
104 BLACK HEATH.
" And spread the impenetrable calm of death
" O'er all their sorrows ! — Yet would I repine^— 265
" Yet frequent wish upon the breast of Love
" To breathe ray tortured spirit ;— frequent weep
" That her closed eyes no longer shared my tears ;
" That she no longer to my trembling lips
" Prest my sweet infant^ — for its future days 270
" Uttering her fears in sighs ! — for who can bear
" A load of sufl'erings for himself alone ?
" No, — 'tis for those we love, — for those on whom
" Self rests each sense of happiness, — for those
" We cherish hope, and struggle with the world ! 275
" Deprived of them, the apathy of grief
" O'erwhelras us, — and our best resolves expire.
** Ruined by dark chicane, compelled I left
*' My little patrimony ; — sought, in trade,
** The sustenance of life.— Bankrupt in that, — 280
BLACK HEATH. 105
" For I had neither knowledge, care, nor hope,
" I sunk so deep in sorrow and in want,
" That, as upon a Avorni, the feet of men
" Seemed to tread on me ; and as one who was,
" But is not, I was named— Or, if I craved 285
" Tlie wretch's pittance, where I might have claimed
" The kind return of friendship, T Was spurned
" And shaken off, as the foul spider is,
" Who with his disembowelled thread adheres
" To the disgusted hand. — What then remains ? 290
" A few short days must end this pilgrimage !
" Yes — when upon that earth which oft I've wooed
" With cheerful labour ; — when upon that earth
*' Whose summer verdure gladdened all my toils ;
" When there I shall have crawled, an outcast wretch,
" A miserable stranger, without home, 295
1€6 BLACK HE Atrt.
" Then will I quit this last, weak, hold of life.
" F'or there, what thoughts from IMemory shall burst,
" Rending the exhausted fibres of the brain
" With dark recurring sense of blasted hopes ;-- 300
" Of joys torn, bleeding, from the shattered heart; —
" Where they werewoundround Life !---0 God, the past,
" The painful past, seems like some dreadful hand
" Grasping my whole existence.-- -Yet awhile —
" ( 1 must not wrong of these poor bones that grave 305
" Which with parental fondness calls me home )
" — O yet awhile, ye days that rend my soul,
" And Lwill pass the boumls of wretched time,
" And mingk in eternity with you.
" Let me but reach the spot where once ye smiled, 310,
" Tho' black op]wessioB c«rst ye as ye passed, —
" There let me drop, unheeded and despised !
*' Tli« sacred spirits of the forms I loved^
BLACK HEATH, 107
" My parents and ray cbild^ — my tender wife
" Shall bind mc welcome to my father's grave ! " 315
And arc there groans likcihese hi Britain's realm ?—
Whatj doth the very breath that fans the ear
Of generous Freedom bear such woeful plaints.
And from her chosen sanctuary of laws.
Doth Freedom luirl not vengeance on the head 320
Of the Oppressor?-— Powers of Social Right'
Selected few, thro' whose exalted cares
Millions of men sustain the claims of life.
And independant each, — dependant still
Upon the mutual duties of the whole, 32$
They form one great harmonious polity,
The glorious wonder of enlightened man.
The British Constitution ;— -O re^e.pt
That universal Justice.ba,(Jc you gave
108 BLACK HEATH.
(What time ye, first embodied at her call, 330
Stood round her tottering throne ) the wretched poor
From the rude grasp of Avarice and Pride !
Protect the husbandman with strongest laws !
Rescue his pittance from the sordid hands
Of base Monopoly ! O let the field, 335
Where Hope rejoiced beside his strenuous ploughj,
And Plenty yielded to his glad embrace.
While o'er his sickle bending, she would throw
Her autumn tresses on his eager arm, — '
Be still his own '.—Then, as the rooted vine 340
Spreads forth its vigorous branches wide abroad.
And hangs its clusters on the barren elm ;
So should his sons, laborious, far around.
People the waste ; and, with unconquered ploughs.
Spread golden harvests o'er neglected plains, 345
And clothe the rock's forbidding heights with corn.
BLACK HEATH. 109
He shall not ask in vain, who afeks from Earth
The wholesome food of Lal)our : — every want
That Nature, undepravcd, hath laid on man,
Shall fall, like noxious weeds, beneath the plough ; 3M
And in their stead shall genial blessings rise :
Blessings of health, of freedom, of content,—
Unpurchased pleasure, and remorseless joy !
This Lacon thought, when, sad, beneath the weight
Of sorrow and of servitude, he bent, 355
And saw his wife and famished infants clasp
His shuddering bosom, and look up for food !
His eldest girl, Lirina, whose mild form.
E'en in the garb of misery, graceful shone
With beautiful simplicity, would ply 360
Her tedious needle all the live-long day.
And strive, with duteous tenderness, to smile
Sweet comfort thro' a flood of glistening tears.
Ah ! how she loved,— and with how pure a flame
The young Amyntas breathed their mutual hopes, 36^
She Avould almost forget; — nor lei a tear
That had not for its source parental woe
Mix with her parent's sorrows. — 'Twas her pride
To soothe or bear their griefs, and but with (hem
To think of happiness : Thus, o'er its root-.-- 37Q
Its wounded parent-root, the lily droops.
Nor heeds the smiling morn, nor breathing eve.
No, nor the dewy kisses of the air
That sighs beneath the shade ;— but lowly bends
Its tender form, sad, o'er its parent-root, S75
With that recovers, or with that expires.
'Twas hence that vainly all the hopes of Love,
Which ardent youth imagines, flushed the cheeks
And eloquently breathed from the warm lips
Of young Amvntas :>.— lieiice it was that while S80
BLACK HEATH. Ill
His manly beauty, softened by the glow
Of generous adolescence, spake in looks,
(When from the faultering tongue the feeble words
Trembled, unequal to the fervid sense)
It spake almost in vain. — Ere the soft blush, 385
In bright confession, o'er her downcast face
Mantled with orient hue, each gentle glance.
That woidd have beamed with love, was lost in tears :
Her parents sorrows mingled with her sighs.
And, with a chill, that shuddered thro' her frame 390
Her mournful accents breathed a cold adieu.
Awed by such grief, Amyntas dared not urge
His tender suit : — he saw its sacred cause ; —
And, silent, felt his bosom's fondest hopes.
Blending with thoughts of w retchedness, become 395
Corrosive cares : — then first, he longed for wealth :—
Then first, perceived how small his humble cot, —
llg BLACK HEATH.
How scanty, and how poor, his laboured field.
Anxious, and restless, with this new desire.
He scorned the tardy harvest, — left his home, — 400
And sought, in distant climes, those Wealthy stores.
That, healing all her wretched parents wants.
Might soothe Lirina's sorrows into love.
Meantime, by ruthless indigence subdued.
The soul of Lacon stooped to supplicate 405
For public aid : yet with the generous pride
Of manly industry, and conscious power.
That feels its natural aids within itself.
If not denied their natural source, he thus.
Honest of purpose, fearlessly addressed 410
The rulers of his district : " I implore
" The means of sustenance. — I starve : — and those,
" Who call me father, sicken at my side.
*'' Yet, rank me not amid the abject crew,
" That overwhelmed in vice, seek idle bread ; 415
*' Nor thiiik I'd rob the aged and infirm
" Of their poor pittance.— No : — these hands inured
" To honest labour, ask the meed of toil : —
" That bread with which relenting Earth rewards
" The moistened brow of man. — Yon swarthy waste 420
" Whose rugged delves, o'erhung with barren shrubs,
" Yield to the straggling brute his scanty fare ; —
" Yon waste, by human industry subdued,
" Might haply teem with human nutriment !
" Grant me a spot of that neglected soil: — 423
" The morning dew, — the cheerful sun,— the rain,
" And all the aids that heaven delights to grant
" To him who struggles with the earth for food,
" Shall, on the opening furrows, bounteous, smile,
" And bless my efforts : — soon the tender root., — 430
" The blossomed herb, — and e'en the nodding sheaf, —
" ( The plenty of content ) shall be our own !
" Well-pleased ye shall behold our humble liut
" Encircled with its blessings : — ye shall hear
*' The mingled gratitude to 3'ou and heaven 435
" Hymned from our cheerful hearts. — So shall ye raise
" (And, with unburdened bounty, raise) from woe
'' Him, and his fainting wife, and wretched babes i
" Who, else dependant on parochial alms,
" Must eat the bread of charity and scorn,— 440"
*-' Loathing the very life your cares sustain ! "
He spake, and gaiu'dhis prayer: — For who with-holds
The consentaneous wish and favouring aid
From generous Industry ?— Who not applauds.
When, firm, relying on itself and heaven, 445
The human soul looks fearless upon life.
And dares trace out its individual path.
Not separate, — yet its own ? — Cruel is he.
Lost to all sense of social gomi, whose hand.
Stifling the honest pride of conscious worth, 450
Restrains the independance of the poor.
Not dark of soul, oblivious of maukindj
Involved in self, were those who heard the prayer
Of humble Lacon. They, with mild accord.
And contribution of such present aid, 455
As might procure him implements and food.
Placed future good within the reach of toil.
And gave exertion hope. Where thro' the sands,
A bubbling stream pursued its channelled course.
Banked with light ridges of the crumbling glebe, 460
Ajid skirted with loose herbagej they assigned
The basis of his wishes. Straight arose
The thatch of interwoven boughs ; — the walls.
Clay-built;, but bright with chalky that 'gainst the sun
Shone cheerful ; — and the willow fence, still green 465
With its surviving foliage, twisted round.
Ah, what sensations mingled in the smile.
With which the parent saw his infants' hands
Toil sportful, — rending up the matted weeds ;
The thorny furze ; the heath, and shadowy fern. 470
To him they seemed as if from Nature's breast
Their little fingers tore away the veil.
To press her milky treasures.— Now the spade.
Incessant labouring, shakes the adhesive sod,
'Till freely each expanded pore imbibes 475
The fragrant air ; the softly oozing dew ;
The life-exciting heat, and genial showers.
The powers of vegetation feel the aid;
Where long supine they spread their stagnate veins
Thej now, with vivifying force, rolled on. 480
To them confided, lo, the embrio bursts
Its husky shell, and hastens to indulge
In draughts of generous light: — the sprouting root
Protrudes its eager fibres, and connects
Its wide prolific family beneath 485
The fostering mould : — the plant of firmer stem
Draws, thro its myriad tubes, the vital streams.
Breathing with ample leaves the ambient air.
How anxiously he watched each tender growth
When from the humble duties of the day, 49D
Which now were brightened with the thoughts of home,
A home replete with hope, cheerful he came.
His bosom's partner, soothed by happier scenes.
Bade thro' tbp''r "rit congenial neatness smile.
118 BLACK HEATH.
And bljtlie domestic comfort : — crowding round, 49^
The joyous children told their mirthful tasks;—
The weeded borders ;— or the high-piled furze; —
Or headstrong swine (his generous master's gift;)
Which strayed from home, the whole surrounding troop
In loose array, could scarce, with urgent shout?, 300
Amid the brakes and brambled paths constrain.
But all, how sweet was his Lirina's voice
Uttering the mixed sensations of her soul !
A tender slip of vine and ruddy plum.
Her pleasing charge, already spread their leaves 503
Around the lattice: — o'er an arboured seat.
Her chief delight, she taught the twining bean
To wind its scarlet bloom : and, round an arch
Of twisted willows, bade the woodbine creep.
With the rose-blossomed briar ; while, below, 510
The salTron stcrtioa skirted the rich sides
BLACK HEATH. Hi)
Mixed with the pea s bright purple. There she'd sit.
With mild attention to hci' needle's toil.
While her fond mind indulged its wandering thoughts:
There would its fears, anxieties, and hopes, 515
Winged with surmises, stretch their rapid flight.
With tender interest in Amvntas' fate.
Less widely circling flies the eager dove-
Floats, wheeling on still pinions ; or from higbj
In spiral flight ascending, darts her gaze 620
O'er distant regions, anxious for her mate ;
Whom, or the ruthless fowler, or the kite,
Hath made his bleeding prey :— in vain she soars —
In vain she winds her still repeated round-
Cooes loud and mournful : while the dew of eve 525
Drops on her heavy pinions, and she moans.
Alone and wakeful, 'mid her native grove.
And thus, with more exteosive flight of mind.
120 BLACK HEATH.
The tender maiden fondly thought of him.
For whom, 'till now, she had not dared to sigh. 530
Meantime the circling years, each than the last
More bountiful of good, round Logon's cot
Redundant bloomed : — the luxuries of toil.
Gay vigour, blythe content, and ruddy health.
Empurpled the bright cup of industry. 535
Still in each year remembej ed rose that day,
( An annual festival) — the day, which gave
Strength to his hope, and ardour to his toil.
With it, o'er Lacon's cheerful mind arose
Renewed sensations : — pious gratitude, 340
The tender memory of vanquished woe.
And generous exultation ( virtue's pride.
Her just designs accomplished.) — For that day
Liuina's hands had ranged the cheerful feast.
BLACK HEATH. 121
Her arbour, rich with Nature's brightest tints, 545
Brilliant with sunshine,— breathing w ith perfume,—
Received Ler parents ; while the genial board.
Crowned with the sweets of Labour, stood beside.
Surrounded bj a sprightly youthful troop.
Then honest Lacon, on whose hardy front 550
Beamed fond emotions, unrcpressed, and full.
Looked up to Heaven with fervour, and exclaimed,
" Thank God we eat the happy bread of toil !
" Thank God — for he hath blessed us ! When he gave
" Labour and Earth, he gave us every good! — 555
" My children, my loved children, ask no more !
" While ye have earth, determined hands, and heaven, —
" Look in yourselves for jo}^, and ye shall find
" Such honest transport as your father feels I " *
* I should wrong the above Episode of an interest due to it, were
I to with-hold from iny reader, that the principle incident is founded on a
123 BLACK HEATH.
As he thus spake, he pressed their lifted hands, 560
And, with a glance that uttered happiness.
Smiled on their mother :— e'en Lirina's heart
Throbbed with the gentle sympathy of joy !
When lo, a sigh was heard, that pierced her soul ;
And thus a mournful, well-known voice exclaimed— 565
fact wliicl) occurred under my own observation. A gardener, employed
at a large school in the county of Kent, was reduced by sickness and
the encumberance of a numerous family to the utmost distress. The
workhouse seemed his only resource. To his master, who was officia-
ting minister at the Parish Church, he ventured to regret that he had
not possessed a small piece of ground, by the cultivation of which, he
was coulident he could have supplied all his wants. The Clergyman
perceived that the genuine honest industry of nature dictated the idea,
and with real benevolence determined to support it. He encouraged
the man to apply at a vestry meeting, for a piece of waste grouHd
belonging to the parish, and seconded his application. The ground
was granted : a contribution was proposed ; and tiie young gentlemen
of the school raised, among themselves a considerable sum. A cottage
was built similar to that described in the poem, and there the gardener
and his family reside, and are rising to a degree of prosperity which,
but a few years ago, was beyond their utmost expectations.
Such examples as these are numerous in Mr. Pratt's notes to his
poem of ' Bread, or the Poou.' To them, as well as to the excellent
observations which he deduces from them, I refer my reader.
BLACK HEATH. 123
" O Lacon, may these sordid liands approach
" Thy hallowed board '^ — ah no ! — I feel how poor,—
" How mean, — how servile, are tliose stores of wealth,
" Won by destructive, and rapacious cares !
" False wealth !— thou art not worth Lirina's love 570
" Her father's wants despise thy feeble aid:-—
" His strenuous arm hath cancelled them for joys,—
" Joys that thou canst not equal ! — Yet permit
" This wealth, sweset maid, in thy instructed hands
" To succour thousands !— teach it how to bless I 575
" Teach it to raise the cot, — to plant the waste, —
" To animate the hopes of arduous toil,
" And people, "with content, the desert plain I
'' O be my better angel !— Be my guide !
" Revive Amyntas with thy heavenly smiles ! 580
" Restore him to himself '.—scatter this gold
'' With open hand ; as when the farmer throws
124 BLACK HEATH.
" Wide o'er the furrowed field the fruitful corn •-•!■-.
" The harvest shall be happiness and love !"
While he yet spake^ the quick recurring blush 585
Spake tlie soft tumult of Lirina's soul !
Upon her mother's bosom, half concealed.
Hung down her burning cheek ; — yet her fond eye
Upon Amyntas fixt its humid gaze ;
As one who marks a new discovered star, 590
And fears to lose it in the expanse of heaven !
While thus her father to the youth replied —
" Welcome Amyntas— welcome to a home,
" Of which thy heart acknowledges the worth !
" The independant home of gay Content ; 595
" Where the light wants of Nature gently rouse
" The genial cares, and summon healthful toil
" To meet the kindling morning, and imbibe
" The freshening moisture of the opening earth I
" Welcome ! — who feels the worth of such a home 600
" Cannot have heaped the spoils of eager guilt :
'' Wealth, when by just, benignant, Commerce given,
" Is both the produce, and the source of good ! —
" Welcome, fond Youth ! and hear a father boast:— -
" And tho' thou hast a lover's ardent tongue, G05
" Yet shalt thou not outpraise me in my theme !
" A real treasure 1 bestow on thee !
" Tho' thou hadst gold in heaps that touched the heavens,
" And orient gems unnumbered as the stars —
" Thou couldst not match my gift' —-he whose blest hand^
" Consign a duteous daughter to her spouse, 610
" Bestows a pledge of every earthly bliss !
" Forgive me if I yield thee this, with tears !
" Fond confidence, domestic love, eontent,
'" Unsullied health, long life, protecting heaven, CI 5
" Fulfil each hope that from your father's heart
'' Breathes in this praver-— " The Eternal Father
bless you ! "
He said : and left Lirina's trembling hand
Lacked in her lover's ;— left her blushing cheek.
That, while he spake, clung fearful to his arm.
Reclined, all yielding, on A.myntas' breast !
GATEWAY IN VANBURGH FIELDS.
A MORNING WALK IN THE SPRING
Alas, how rapid fly the matin hours !
Hours by the mlse beloved ; — hours mild and pure,
Wide shedding round their tender influence.
As erateful to the soul, as is the warmth
Of their new beams to every opening flower ; —
As are their robes of renovated light
To all that live ! — O yet, ye gentlest hours,
Ye balmy-winged companions of the Muse,
O yet, ere fervid Day, with all its cares,
128 BLACK HEATH.
Usurp your pleasing empire, breathe the calm 10
Of MENTAL INDEPENDANCE O'cr mj bfCast !
For in the circlet of your hands alone.
What time ye from the East your early dance
Lead forth, with smiles of jocund innocence
Purpling the expanded heavens, exists that flame l^
That wakes the soul to Nature and the Muse !
'Tis now luxurious Pride and eager Care
O'erwhclmed, in restless langour, fearful lie.
And struggle for repose. The scalding tear.
That from the eye of Misery all night long 20
Moistened the sleepless pillow, ceases now,—
And round its arid, slowly-closing fount,
Float dreams of hope, light-shaken from your wings I
Thrice happy ! happiest of the human race
Is he who with the ascending lark beholds 35
BLACK HEATH. 129
Your starry-forchcads. Hours of Morning, beam
Clear o'er the shadowy twilight! — who the grass.
Brilliant with dew, or web-cnvellopcd moss.
Treads uiironfined, what time your softest rays
O'er every dew-drop, and each silvery web, 30
Blithsome ye throw !-— for whom the blossomed Heath,
Conscious of you, with fragrant incense steams.
And fills the ])rightening ether, not in vain.
With breathing sweetness : — whom, the living song.
Chirped quick, or warbled thro' connecting notes, 35
Inciting you, ere yet your yellow hair
Floats, glistening, on the horizon's vapoury bounds.
Wins to sweet sense of lively melody.
To him the world, with its commingling griefs.
Its hopes, its terrors, like a distant storm, 40
Which, long foreseen, the sheltered herdsman views,
130 BLACK HEATH.
And with reefed sails tlie wary seaman braves.
Appears undreaded. Wisdom, Virtue, Truth,
And vigorous Health, and independant Mind,
Confessed in all their beauteous forms, with you, 45
Ye best of Hours, instruct and animate
His ardent breast to meet the cares of day ;—
To see his hopes fall round him unconcerned ;—
To feel the scorn of Pride without a groan ; —
To view, without a fear, the front of want ; — 50
And struggle 'gainst oppression, tho', with arm
Gigantic, it would crush him to the earth.
O Thou, best, only, source of human bliss.
Pervasive Soul ! — etherial radiance ! — God ! —
From whose eternal presence, these chaste Hours, 65
Walk forth in all thy purity, — vouchsafe
To let their influence rest on me this day ?
Let that great sense of thee, which gk)ws in them,
Support me !— nor permit tlie mental part.
That thinks within mc, and thy essence claims 60
By sympathy with the creative good.
Which, softened, vivifies the tender morn.
Sink low, debased, beneath a tyrant world ;
But thro' its duties, fearless, let it move.
Thyself, the Muse, and Science, all its joys ! 65
Whither would'st thou my vagrant steps entice.
Sweet Spirit of Expression, gentle Muse,
(If thou indeed dost hover o'er my path.
And deign'st impart thy numbers to my lay, •
Breathing ideas from every living scene ; ) 70
O, whither would'st thou turn my truant feet.
When toil, and care, and duty call me home ?
Would'st thou, along the river's breezy bank.
Admire the light that se^ms to mount each wave.
Then backward rolls, refulgent, from the shore ? 75
Or watch the dark cloud with its hasty shower
Thrown pattering on the bosom of the Thames ?
Or catch the varying objects floating round.
And fix them with the pencil of the mind ? —
Rocked by the unsteady stream, the tilting boat 80
Straining its anchored bow ;— the flying sail.
Now dingy with deep shadow, now, with beams
Of snowy brightness, glistening o'er its course;—
The grey-winged sea-gull, that, along the waves.
Stoops in slow flight, and dips her mottled plumes, 85
And flaps her heavy pinions as she soars ;■ —
Or, would'st thou lead me o'er the verdant marsh.
Where, 'gainst the urgent waves embanked, it spreads
Its flowery herbage : there, the plover skims.
With wailful cry, along the sedgy dykes ; 9Q
And water-locusts, on pellucid wings
Azure or green, flit, circling, o'er the stream.
Or, lightly settling on the tremulous reeds.
Spread their cerulean vans, like glossy leases
Of some rich flower ; 'till, quick, they glance away 95
In fluttering chase, pursuing or pursued.
There the black oxen browze the lofty grass
In pictured groups ; or on the clammy mound
Stray singly, lashing slowly from their sides
The buzzing swarms that rise along their path.* 100
Or yon romantic slopes would'st thou attempt.
Where, down each dark declivity, rich shade
Lies in broad folds ?— Lo, there, with pendant boughs.
The thick shrubs cling, and straggling oaks protrude
* and from bis sides
The troublous insects lasbes with bis tail,
134 BLACK HEATH.
Their pollard trunks, with ivy close enwreathed ; 105
While slender ashlins, o'er the stony brow.
Bend their grey steniSj and quiver in the breeze.
There, the loud cuckoo rings her double chime.
While, softly sweet, the blackbird fills the air
With amorous descant, and the chattering jay, 110
On streaky plumage, rustles thro' the wood.
Or would '«t thou wander where the turrets rise
Of Charlton's fane, where deeper foliage spreads.
And Cultivation, with luxuriant vest.
Robes the rich height : on this side, numerous hills 115
More rudely heave their rugged, chalky, forms.
And the dark, hollow, valley sinks, between.
Its fearful depths : there, the wide-wandering sheep
Climb the steep sides, and bleat along^the ridge.
There, oft, within some cavity obscure, 125
Where the chalk crumbles, and the sallow smoke
Rolls heavy from the calcined lime below.
The wizard gypsies, and their bantling crew.
Huddle together thro' the stormy night ;
Heedless of ill, their stolen feast enjoy ; 12^
And slumber sound, tlio' loud the rattling blasj.
Beat on their canvas awning, and the elm.
Whose fibrous roots creep thick across their cave,
Creak fearful as it rocks above their heads.
O might I rove with thee, sweet Power of Song,
And trace each aspect of the varying hours : — ISO
Whether the broad impervious flood of noon,
A radiant ocean, drown the southern hills.
And pour, refulgent, o'er the dazzling meads ; —
Or evening draw the fretted clouds aslant, 13q
Marking the ethereal current of the breeze.
In silvery stripes, what time the crescent moon.
136 BLACK HEATH;
Light glimmering, trembles thro' their floating ranks ;--^
Or, in deep masses, indistinct and vast.
The broken darkness rolls along the vales> 140
And every sound, slow-undulating, spreads.
Filling the hollow concave of the heavens.
As tho' the solemn footsteps of the night
Stopped, pausing, 'mid the echoes of the hills.
Then might I frequent climb yon tower crowned steep,*
And yield to thee and Fancy every thought.
Wide wafted on the rapid solar beams.
That glance across the prospect ; — or, amid
Shadows confused, far mingling their loose forms
O'er the uncertain objects, musing mark 150
* Shooter's HiLt. The tower upon Sheoter's Hill, was erected
by the Lady of Sir William James, in commemoration of the taking
of Severn-Droog Castle, on the coast of Malabar, April 2nd, 1755-
It is built after the model of the Indian fortress, and its vestibule is
ornameoted with armour and trophies taken theie by Sir William.
Each indistinct, faint murmur of the world ;
Smile at tumultuous Folly's eagef cares ;
And scorn the insatiate wants of clamorous Vice.
Nature with mental pleasure fills each hour.
And pours a current of perpetual joy 155
Thro' all her vast variety of scene :
Each moment, silent, works some magic change.
And the whole day, diversified, invites
The unwearied admiration of mankind !
What then the year ? — its variegated months, 160
Its seasons, stronger marked, that touch the mind
With such fond awe, that e'en the insensate owns
The great creative spirit as it moves.
Eternal, thro' its infinite of forms.
Then whether Summer reign ; or bloomy Spring :
Or jocund Autumn, 'raid his golden sheaves.
139 BLACK HEATH.
Who, with delicious blush of mellow fruit.
Laughs merrily, e'en while the genial power.
His every end accomplished, slow retires.
And shakes the withering foliage from his robes; — 170
Or Winter, wide across the glittering scene.
Shower lucid snow ; while, rising in the north.
The keen winged breezes beat their crackling plumes.
Scattering the pointed frost drops thro' the air.
And o'er the rattling boughs, suspended thick, 175
The dripling crystal sparkles in the sun ;—
Thou should'st not call me. Gentle Muse in vain:
No — thro' all Nature's paths I'd follow thee.
Could I but burst the torpid chain of want.
Then whatsoe'er thy theme; — the heath — the mead — 180
The murmuring streamlet, or the boisterous wave —
The wood — the lake — the mountain — valley — rock —
The stormy clouds — the winds— the orbs of heaven —
BLACK HEATH. 139
Or life in all its forms — or human mind^ —
The expanding bosom and enlightened soul ; — 185
Whate'er thy theme, I'd yield each thought to thee,
Wooe all thy impulse. Thou expressive Power ;
Till the full utterance trembled on my lips.
And raised my hymn thro' Nature to her God !
Then, might I not refrain to climb the brow 190
Of yon broad hill, where India's captive tower *
Frowns, like a bondaged giant, o'er the steep.
Who, mocked with trophies of his former strength.
Is borne aloft, the triumph of his foe.
Then, when the Spring, as now, with wanton wreaths
Blossoms the boughs, and o'er the enlivened mead 195
Scatters light verdure, scatters tinted flowers.
Scatters soft fragrance on each ambient gale,
* Shooter's Hill. See the note at verse 145.
Scatters prolific moisture from the sky
While plajful sunbeams dart amid the showers, 200
Oft may I, from yon hill, on evening's beams
Gaze with delight, what time, with faintest glow
The expiring purple trembles o'er the sky.
And scarce those topmost battlements preserve
The last pale glimmer of departed day. 205
Then, 'mid the shrubs that skirt the sloping ridge.
And rudely vest the rugged steep beneath.
The blackbird sings his vespers ; and the thrush.
Whirring thro' every coppice, pours his note
With wilder cadence : — then, each object round, 210
In soft succession, seems to fade away.
And tender shadows, deepening as they blend.
Roll slowly upward from the darkened vales.
Cling to the hills, and on the cloudless air
Steam, maqtiing, 'mid the lingering flush of day. 215
"Yet still the dim, uncertain, scene delights ;—
While, fearfully obscure, a shapeless mass
Of houses, hills, and woods, o'erwhelms the scene.
The slender spire of Eltham seems to pierce
Thro' the deep gloom ; and, in their misty forms, 220
Yon rows of elms spread with enormous shade :
Where, with incessant voice, the busy rooks
Flit o'er their airy dwellings : — wide around
The glimmering tapers glance their feeble beams ;--
The lattice flashes with the wavering blaze 22^
Of the blown embers :---o'er the river rolls *
A gleamy mist :— the vessels, still discerned.
Move heavily along ; while, here and there.
The lamp's pale radiance glitters on the waves :—
# the dim-seen river seems
Sullen and slow, to roll the misty wave.
143 BlACK HEATH.
E'en yon vast city, to the attentive eye, 230
Swells shadowy, with its high cathedral dome.
Majestic, like some towering, sculptured, rock
That dents the horizon of the Indian main.
A DEEPER flow of shadow, eastward, plays
In dusky folds, and o'er the landscape curls 235
Its vapoury forms :— there, travellers are heard
With hasty footsteps echoing on the path :—
The distant wheel — the hoof resounding quick—
At intervals disturb the silent air :-—
And, frequent, where the waves encurve their course 240
A soft light sparkles : — o'er the leafy banks
A snowy brilliance, hesitating, floats ; —
Or on these lofty turrets, glittering rests :
A brightening azure mantles o'er the heavens : —
The Horizon shines intense ; — and soon appears, 245
Jn all the placid splendour of her beams.
The broad orbed moon, who throws o'er all the scene.
In mild suffusion, her irradiate calm.
Nor when the fervid Summer thro' the air
Elances swift the lucid shafts of heat, ?50
Would I neglect to climb this glowing height,
Tho' then the dazzling ether, full of Noon,
Stream thro' the tepid scene :— then, rich around.
The glossy verdure, streaked with gaudy tints.
Flaunts in the light, or, where the mowers bend 253
O'er the wide sweeping circuit of their scythes,
Falls in thick wavy heaps, and sheds abroad
Soft balmy odour as, embrowned, it dies.
Yet, 'mid the million tribes of bladed grass.
That with their dewy green invest the fields, 360
But one, of all the expiring mead, emits
144 BLACK HEATH.
The fragrant spirit that pervades the whole ; —
So as the scythe of Deaths tremendous, sweeps
Among the generations of mankind,—
The few, alas the very few, who seek 265
The generous fame of virtue, and exalt
The ethereal vigour of expanding soul
Above the torpid crowd, those few alone
Embalm whole ages with their sacred names.
And shed rich odours o'er the fields of Time I 270
But whither leads the Muse my vagrant thoughts ?
Why thus seduce me from diurnal toil ?
Why thus, with voice more sweet than when the lute
Swells full of Love throughout the Italian night.
Excite my soul to leave its world of woe, 275
And wing its flight up yonder hill with thee ? —
Alas, not now : — a happier day ipay come
(So Hope, deceitful still, yet still believed.
In siren music, whispers) — yes — a day
When, free from pale anxiety, each thought
May dart to thee delighted, and partake
The living impulse kindled by thy touch
O'er all the varying works of Nature's power I
IRON BRIDGE IN LEE VALE.
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